Democrats say they believe there should be more emphasis on gun safety, Republicans push back

February 7, 2022

The Georgia Senate Majority Republican Caucus’ powerful legislative priorities for 2022 include dismantling licensing requirements to own firearms and banning so-called critical race theory from school classrooms. public.

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Lightning rod legislation is in the works at the 2022 General Assembly with Crossover Day – a key deadline for a bill to clean up at least one bedroom – in about a month. And top Republican officials, including Gov. Brian Kemp, House Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan’s willingness to lend their muscles, could go a long way in turning the bills into law.

As early as next week, the Georgian Senate could take up the proposal of Republican Senator Jason Anavitarte transport bill without permit which is signed by more than 30 Republican senators.

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Duncan and Ralston said they were open to considering legislation that would eliminate the requirement for Georgians to have gun licenses. With overwhelming support from the Senate GOP caucus and Kemp, it looks like there are more than enough votes to pass the law dubbed “constitutional carry” by Republicans.

“This session, I am encouraged by the common goals that have been announced by members of both chambers,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan, a Republican from Carrollton. “I have no doubt that we will find common ground on several key priorities, such as protecting our Second Amendment right by passing a constitutional deferral (bill).”

Democrats and gun safety activists opposed to the weakening of gun laws and the removal of fingerprints and background checks required to purchase a gun have strongly denounced efforts to carry without license.

Residents of Georgia can carry long guns and shotguns without a license, but must have one to legally carry loaded handguns in public.

Rep. Billy Mitchell, a Stone Mountain Democrat, said Republicans should focus more on gun safety than making it easier to carry guns.

“The reality is that the statistics suggest that if you have a gun in your home, you are more likely to injure a loved one or yourself than an intruder,” he told a briefing. legislative preview of the House Minority Caucus. “The reality is you need more training on how to store guns. We don’t need more people carrying them around randomly.”

This session will be dominated by gun rights legislation, but so will the discussion of what can be taught about race in schools and whether parents should be able to protest curricula, books and other materials.

Kemp also unveiled his parents’ bill of rights proposals last week that would require school officials to provide parents with educational materials within three days of their request.

The House version of the bill would allow parents to then object to lesson plans, let them remove their children from the sex-ed curriculum and limit the kind of health records that schools can keep on the students.

“This initiative is about transparency and involving parents in their children’s education, as parents have the right to direct the upbringing and upbringing of their children,” said Rep. John Carson, House Bill 1158 sponsor and a Republican from Marietta. “As radicals sacrifice education and achievement and instead focus on demographics and racial differences, parents need transparency in the school curriculum and the ability to file complaints that lead to resolution.”

Kemp said it was dangerous for public schools to incorporate lessons on race-based studies and other concepts that might make white students feel guilty about slavery and segregation. Teachers and other educators agree that critical race theory is not a concept taught in Georgia public schools.

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Kemp floor leader Sen. Bo Hatchett, a Cornelia Republican, promotes Senate Bill 377 it would ban colleges and local schools from teaching subjects that could be seen as discriminatory and also create a pathway for parents to formally object.

That legislation has been referred to the Senate Education and Youth Committee which is scheduled to meet on Monday, although no agenda is yet publicly available.

“While banning CRT may be the simplest approach, there is a need to better define exactly what we are trying to stop,” Hatchett said during a briefing on legislative priorities. “For example, if you, as a reporter, call a local school board and ask about the CRT, they’ll likely get back to you with a definitive answer: ‘We don’t teach critical race theory in our schools. ”

“But in some cases, that’s like saying they’re not teaching math knowing they’re teaching addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division,” Hatchett said.

Ralston said the problem is that parents feel they are not welcome in the education decision-making process.

“I think the important thing about critical race theory is that it really ties into the whole issue of parental control and the influence that parents have over the upbringing of their children, whether it’s whether it’s obscene programs, books or literature,” he said. during a January 25 appearance on Georgia Public Broadcasting Political rewind.

Duncan, however, did not come out publicly in favor of greater state control over the school curriculum, in what has become a highly politicized issue.

“I’m one of those who thinks a lot of these decisions have to be made at the local level. But there are certainly opportunities and gaps and we want to make sure we’re providing high quality education that doesn’t have some kind of difficulty. ‘political inclination,’ Duncan said.

The Speaker of the House assigns preferred legislation to committees that can get bills to the floor, and with about 20 years in the Legislative Assembly, he has enough political capital to push the legislation through his chamber.

Although he hasn’t officially endorsed Kemp, Ralston has been full of praise as the governor heads into a heated Republican primary election against former Georgia Sen. David Perdue, who enjoys the government’s endorsement. former President Donald Trump.

Duncan is not seeking a second term as Senate Speaker, instead saying he will focus his efforts after leaving office on the GOP 2.0 movement which aims to move the party beyond its loyalty to Trump.

Charles Bullock, a professor of political science at the University of Georgia, said Democrats don’t have enough votes to block regular Republican legislation, so the success of GOP proposals is virtually guaranteed when the governor, the caucus and chamber leaders agree.

“Because this year is an election year, you can count on some of the things to push the agenda like the CRT or something really new like this parents’ bill of rights,” Bullock said.

Some Republicans are pushing to ban transgender girls from joining women’s sports teams in public schools, but the alignment among Republican leaders is not as clear as on other culture war issues.

In his state of the state address, Kemp called for fairness in school sports, and Sharpsburg Republican Rep. Philip Singleton, one of the original sponsors of a bill banning transgender athletes to play sports for girls, expressed optimism that the legislation would pass this year.

Ralston said last year that the measures were hugely divisive and unnecessary because local school systems have their own policy on the matter.


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