Georgia lawmakers have filed legislation to require a waiting period before a firearm could be purchased in the Peach state following the tragic shootings across metro Atlanta last week that left eight people dead and another injured.
House Bill 784 was filed Monday and seeks to institute a five day waiting period for firearm purchases made from a licensed dealer. Private sales would not be impacted, but before a firearm could be sold or transferred, five days would have to pass from the date the licensed dealer conducted the NICS background check.
The lead sponsor, Rep. Josh McLaurin, said on his social media page Monday, “As we saw from the horrific events last week, it shouldn’t be easy for a person to obtain and use a firearm immediately during their worst moment.”
His bill has the backing of other representatives, including Reps. Taylor Bennet, Stacey Evans, Sam Park, Beth Moore, and Carl Gilliard. All six are Democrats.
The measure follows outcry on social media last week as Democratic lawmakers from across the state called for longer wait times in the wake of the tragedy.
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Supporters of the bill say the waiting period is a necessary ‘cooling off’ period that would allow an unstable person or a person in crisis to rethink their decision to do harm. Opponents of the bill and Second Amendment proponents say the bill is a limit on a protected right and could irreparably harm individuals who sought to purchase a firearm for self-defense.
The Associated Press reported Monday that 10 states and the District of Columbia currently require a waiting period between NICS background checks and the purchase of of some or all firearms. Only California, Florida, Illinois, and Rhode Island have a waiting period for all firearm purchases.
Because Crossover Day for this legislative session has already passed, the bill cannot be approved in 2021, but could be taken up in the 2021 legislative session. The late introduction of the bill has no bearing on whether or not a House subcommittee or committee could give the bill a hearing.
You can read the bill in its entirety here.