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6:11 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Local Gun Control Activists Seek Support from Georgia Congressmen

Representatives Phil Gingrey and Tom Price were visited by local representatives of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Local gun control activists are calling on Georgia’s U.S. representatives to support a measure expanding background checks for gun buyers.

Under the bipartisan House bill, those purchasing firearms at gun shows, online or through newspaper ads would have to undergo background checks.

Supporters say the step is needed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those with serious mental illness. But those opposing it argue it violates second amendment and cite concerns over privacy rights. 

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Local members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns delivered petitions to the offices of Georgia Congressman  Tom Price and Congressman Phil Gingrey. In the petitions, they asked the Congressman to vote in favor of the measure. Stone Mountain Resident John Starbuck says the congressman should support the House bill to prevent deaths like his daughter Meleia’s.

“She was our family’s everything: our light, our joy and our spirit.”

Starbuck says on the night of his daughter’s death in 2005, she called her friend Christopher for help during an argument that arose between her friends and several University of California Berkley football players.

Starbuck says Meleia didn’t know Christopher was going to bring a gun. When he arrived, Starbuck says Christopher shot his gun into where the dispute was taking place.

“The bullet ricocheted and she was hit in the heart.”

Starbuck says he doesn’t have all the details from that night but one thing is clear.

“Christopher should have not owned a gun. He had both a criminal background and a disturbed mental history. It was simply too easy for Christopher to get a gun.”

That’s why Starbuck issued this plea to federal lawmakers.

“Please help us do something before my tragedy becomes somebody else’s tragedy.”

In a statement, Congressman Tom Price did not directly comment on the bill, but says he welcomes constituent input.

Congressman Gingrey has yet to comment to WABE on the legislation. 

The bipartisan bill has more than 100 co-sponsors most of which are Democrats. It’s been referred to a subcommittee and is expected to face difficulty in the Republican-controlled House. The effort comes after an amendment to expand background checks was recently shot down in the U.S. Senate.  

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