6:20 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Gun Group Argues "Stand Your Ground" Lawsuit Invalid Due To Improper Procedure

Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, speaks during a press conference to announce it planned to file a lawsuit challenging Georgia's "stand your ground" law.
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Will a lawsuit filed by the Rainbow Push Coalition and others challenging Georgia’s so called “Stand Your Ground” law be dismissed over a technicality?

Last month, a group hoping to intervene in the case asked a federal judge to dismiss it because it claimed Georgia’s Attorney General and Governor Nathan Deal were never served with the lawsuit. But attorneys filing the lawsuit responded this week and said they attempted to serve both state officials.

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5:38 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

A Summary Of What's In Georgia's New Gun Law

A summary of the provisions of Georgia's new gun law, which is awaiting Gov. Deal's signature.
Credit Robert Aaron, WABE

Web Exclusive.

We have put together a summary of the key provisions of the new gun law that was passed in the waning hours of this year's General Assembly and which is now awaiting Gov. Deal's signature. The summary appears below as an image.

This is not an exhaustive summary of the bill's contents, and we are not lawyers. For more information and for the exact wording, please check the full text of the bill (HB 60) as passed by the Legislature (PDF).

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10:52 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Associations Raise Concerns About Gun Bill on Gov. Deal's Desk

The Georgia Municipal Association says a gun bill passed by state lawmakers could be costly for a number of Georgia cities. The Association is also worried the bill could leave cities open to lawsuits. The bill is also drawing some concern from law enforcement officials.

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6:13 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Bill Easing Gun Restrictions Heads to Governor Deal

Lawmakers celebrate the end of the 2014 legislative session. The gun bill was one of the bills to gain final passage on day 40.
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Unlike last year, House and Senate lawmakers this year reached a deal on legislation to expand gun rights in places like bars, churches, and some government buildings.  The bill now goes to Governor Deal’s desk.

The Georgia House agreed with the Senate Version of the bill during the last hour of legislative session. That led to this announcement by Senator Bill Heath:

“Mr. President I believe that the House has finally come along in representing Georgia’s gun owners and protecting themselves.”

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5:00 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Gun Control Advocates Decry Revamped House Gun Bill

The Rev. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church says faith leaders an adamantly against efforts to expand carry areas to churches Wednesday at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta.
Credit Michell Eloy

Gun control advocates Wednesday rallied against legislative efforts to expand areas where people can carry firearms one day after the Georgia House of Representatives attempted to force the hand of the Senate on controversial gun legislation.  

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4:58 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Ga. House Tries To Force Vote On Gun Bill

HB 875 co-sponsor and Public Safety Chair Alan Powell, R-Hartwell.

The state House is trying to force the hand of their Senate colleagues on sweeping gun legislation.

In a surprise move Tuesday, the House removed a provision that would have reduced the penalty for gun permit holders if caught carrying on a college campus. Then, it attached that bill to a separate piece of legislation and sent it to the Senate for an immediate floor vote.

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4:09 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

House Approves Bill Easing Gun Restrictions in Bars, Churches, and Schools

State Rep. Dustin Hightower, R-Carrollton.
Credit Ga. House of Reps.

The Georgia House approved a controversial bill aimed at easing gun restrictions in a wide range of places, including bars, churches, college campuses, and Hartsfield Airport.

On the House floor, Rep. Dustin Hightower, R-Carrollton, said the bill is about basic constitutional rights. 

“We get asked over and over why do we constantly talk about gun rights and the Second Amendment and my answer is simple - because there are others who are constantly trying to take our rights away,” said Hightower.

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7:40 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Despite Past Issues, New Gun Bill Loosens Restrictions on College Campuses

HB 875 sponsor Rick Jasperse (right) with public safety committee chair and bill co-sponsor Alan Powell (center).

A bill seeking to loosen gun carry rules in Georgia's bars, churches, and college campuses cleared a House committee Thursday.

After two days of packed hearings and emotional testimony, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee voted in favor of House Bill 875. It would expand gun carry areas to bars, churches, and some government buildings. 

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6:30 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Rep. Cooke Calls for Allowing Firefighters to be Armed

One Georgia politicians believes firefighters should have the right to carry firearms.
Credit Rose Scott / WABE News

State Rep. Kevin Cooke (R-Carrollton) has introduced a bill that calls for allowing Georgia firefighters to carry guns on the job.

This comes less than a year after an emergency incident where a Gwinnett County man called the fire department claiming to have a heart attack.

Shortly after five firefighters entered the house, the caller held them hostage at gunpoint.

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3:53 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

New Gun Bill Won't Include Campus Carry

House Speaker David Ralston
Credit Ga. House of Reps.

State House Republicans are expected to introduce new gun legislation Monday, just days after the legislature's attorneys dealt a major blow to backers of expanding gun carry areas to state colleges and universities.

House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, insists the new bill will expand gun rights - it just won’t include campus carry.  

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3:34 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Legislative Lawyers: Campus Carry 'Opt In' Proposal 'Unconstitutional'

A controversial bill that would expand the list of areas where people with permits can carry guns has hit a major snag in the state General Assembly after the legislature’s lawyers said a key proposal could be unconstitutional.

The problem lies in the “opt in” measure, which would allow college presidents to decide whether permit holders could carry weapons on campus.

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5:00 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Gainesville School Board Approves Long-Range Rifles for School Resource Officers

This is the type of long-range rifle Gainesville school resource officers will carry.
Credit Colt Defense LLC

The Gainesville School Board approved a plan Monday that will allow school resource officers at three of its schools to access long-range rifles.

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3:37 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Atlanta Leaders Organize Gun Buyback Inititiative As State Pols Look To Ease Restrictions

Gun buyback programs have been used by cities all over the country, such as this gun buyback program in Oakland, California, in 2012.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and faith leaders are joining the NAACP in a gun buyback initiative.

“We decided to take action. More than just pray for it and go to sleep," said Rev. R.L. White, Jr., president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP. 

At a Monday press conference at Atlanta City Hall, Brown condemned what he called America’s culture of violence and called for fewer guns on the streets.

“When we first initiated this buyback effort, it was out of necessity, not politics,” said Brown.

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5:00 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Gun Rights Group Seeks to Intervene in 'Stand Your Ground' Lawsuit

Credit GeorgiaCarry.Org

A Georgia group that advocates for the rights of gun owners wants to put a stop to a lawsuit challenging Georgia’s "Stand Your Ground" law. The lawsuit was just filed by the Georgia Push Coalition and two other plaintiffs.

GeorgiaCarry.Org filed a motion on Tuesday asking a federal judge to allow the organization to participate in the lawsuit. The gun rights group also filed another motion asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed Jerry Henry is executive director of GeorgiaCarry.Org.

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Atlanta Public Schools
3:49 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Female Student Arrested For Carrying Gun At New Schools at Carver

A 15-year-old female student at the New Schools at Carver was arrested for having a handgun in her purse, which she said she was holding for another student.
Credit Google Street Views

Officials with the Atlanta Public Schools and the Atlanta Police Department say a 15-year old female student was arrested on Tuesday at the New Schools at Carver High located in south Atlanta.

The student was in possession of a gun. And it was a loaded gun, says APD major Keith Meadows.

“One of our school resources officers actually received an anonymous tip from a student at the school that another female was actually carrying a handgun in her purse."

Major Meadows is in charge of APS’ school detectives unit.

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5:00 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Hartsfield-Jackson Takes Steps to Eliminate Guns in Carry-On Luggage

Airport officials display picture of one of the guns confiscated at security checkpoints.
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is discouraging passengers from bringing guns in their carry-on luggage. The effort comes as the airport is on track to have the most guns confiscated at security checkpoints in the nation for the second year in a row.

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8:55 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Douglas County To Lift Ban on Guns in Parks

Douglas County is planning to change an ordinance to allow firearms in its public parks.

The County says it’s making the change to comply with state law.

Tom Worthan is Douglas County’s Commission Chairman. He’s a member of the NRA, but disagrees with having guns in parks.

“I support the second amendment. I just think we’re going to extremes on certain issues within the  firearms, and I just want to make sure that our children are safe in our parks."

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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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4:46 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Brady Campaign Sues Georgia Town over Mandatory Gun Law

Nelson City Council
Credit City of Nelson, GA

NELSON, Ga. (AP) — A group that supports gun control is suing a north Georgia town that passed a law requiring gun ownership.

The Washington-based Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the town of Nelson.

The group claims the law is unconstitutional. It contends the Second Amendment doesn't require anyone to have a gun.

City leaders passed an ordinance April 1 requiring every head of household to have a gun and ammunition, but there are many exceptions.

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4:15 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

NAACP Launches Gun Buyback Effort

Reverend R.L. White, Atlanta NAACP President, announces plans to begin a community-wide effort to buy back guns.
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

The Atlanta Branch of the NAACP is hoping to partner with other local organizations to start a gun buyback program. The group says it’s starting the program because of federal inaction when it comes to gun control.

The program is called Project Rescue Atlanta and is aimed at preventing gun violence and other crime. Atlanta NAACP president Reverend R.L. White says the local effort is needed after  legislation to expand background checks for gun purchases recently failed in the U.S. Senate.

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12:27 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Local Gun Control Activists Meet With Sen. Johnny Isakson

Several weeks before Monday's meeting, Members of Moms Demand Action gather near Sen. Isakson's local office to protest to the failed background check amendment.
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Local gun control activists are more hopeful after sitting down with Senator Johnny Isakson Monday. Members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America called on the Senator to support a future measure that the sponsor of a failed U.S. Senate amendment to expand background checks has vowed to bring up again. Melinda Ennis is co-president of Moms Demand Action’s Georgia Chapter.

“He didn’t say no. He didn’t say yes, but we are very appreciative that he met with us, and I hope he will say yes when the bill comes around again.”

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6:00 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Local Gun Supporters, Opponents React to Possible Reconsideration of Background Checks


Georgians for and against gun control are weighing in after learning a measure to expand background checks for gun purchases could be reconsidered in the U.S. Senate. The measure recently failed but co-sponsor Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has vowed to bring it up again.

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5:41 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Local Residents Protest Senate Gun Amendment Vote

Local residents stand inside the Atlanta area office building where Sen. Johnny Isakson's is located to protest his recent vote.
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

A local protest today in response to  U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss voting with more than 40 other senators to defeat a Senate amendment to expand background checks for gun buyers.

Members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Organizing for Action expressed their dismay in front of the Senators’ offices. Melinda Ennis co-president of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America  Georgia chapter.

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3:42 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Gun Amendment Fails, Prompting Groans and Cheers in Georgia

Credit NPR

An amendment that would have expanded background checks for gun buyers as part of a larger gun bill failed to get the 60 votes needed to pass the U.S. Senate yesterday. The vote pleases local gun rights activists and has left supporters of the amendment dismayed.

Morehouse College students who rallied in favor of the amendment with Mayors Against Illegal guns are upset Georgia U.S Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson voted against the measure. Ronnie Mosely is a Morehouse senior.

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12:06 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Morehouse Students Rally to Expand Background Checks for Guns

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

The U.S. Senate is considering legislation to expand background checks for gun buyers. On Tuesday, Morehouse College students and members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns rallied to pressure Georgia’s U.S. Senators to pass the measure.

Morehouse senior Ronnie Moseley believes the measure’s passage would keep more illegal guns out of the hands of criminals and reduce gun violence on college campuses.

“And we want to do everything we can to influence that.”

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"The 5:44" with Denis O'Hayer
7:42 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Georgians and Gun Control: How Are Attitudes Changing? A Talk with Pollster Matt Towery

Matt Towery, pollster and CEO of InsiderAdvantage
Credit InsiderAdvantage

  On Wednesday, April 11, the U.S. Senate voted to head off a filibuster and proceed with a vote on gun control legislation.  

But, here in Georgia, the State Legislature is considering a bill that would expand the list of places where people with concealed weapons permits could carry their guns.  

Still, Georgians outside the State Capitol may be changing their attitudes about at least some gun control measures, like background checks.  

WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery, who conducted a recent statewide poll.

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"The 5:44" with Denis O'Hayer
8:45 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Senators Chambliss, Isakson Both Say They Won't Try to Block Gun Bill Debate

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia)
Credit U.S. Senate

Both of Georgia’s U.S. Senators, Republicans Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, say they now support an up-or-down vote in the Senate on a gun control bill, the details of which are still being finalized.  

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"The 5:44" with Denis O'Hayer
5:41 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

President Obama's Next Dinner with GOP Senators: A Talk with Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) talks with Sandy Johnson, Development Director of Dress for Success, at an event supporting the state's Free File program for low-income taxpayers, April 8, 2013, at the Dunbar Community Center.
Credit Denis O'Hayer/WABE News

 On Wednesday, April 10, Georgia Republican Senator Johnny Isakson will host a dinner for President Obama and 12 Republican Senators.  

It's the second time that the President has broken bread with a group of GOP Senators; he had dinner with a different group a month ago.  

The dinner will take place as Congress tries to reach agreement on a number of difficult issues:  debt reduction, gun control, and immigration (to name just a few)--all the while keeping an eye on new and aggressive moves by North Korea.  

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3:13 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

People See What They Want to See in Kennesaw’s Famous Gun Ordinance

Credit City of Kennesaw

Kennesaw made national headlines with its 1982 ordinance requiring heads of households in the city to own a gun, which had been passed originally as a pro-gun reaction to a ban on handguns that had been enacted earlier that year in Morton City, Illinois.  Since that time, it has been repeatedly cited by gun rights proponents as an extremely effective deterrent to crime – and criticized by others as having no effect. 

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5:13 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Nelson, Ga. Votes to Require Gun Ownership

Nelson Police Chief Heath Mitchell

Owning a gun in the Nelson, a city in Pickens County,  is now a legal requirement.

Monday night the Nelson City Council passed an ordinance that requires the head of every household to maintain a firearm and ammunition. 

Police Chief Heath Mitchell says Nelson is a place where everybody knows everybody. And he says Nelson is a city where about 95% the 1400 residents already own a gun.

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