Fulton County leaders on Wednesday voted to urge “the passage of reasonable legislation” in Georgia to help reduce gun violence. But not before some commissioners questioned whether it was the county’s role to get involved in the gun debate.
“I think it’s outside our scope,” said Commissioner Bob Ellis, who declined to vote on the non-binding measure, which was approved 5-0.
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Ellis said he thought the county could better spend its time working on issues where it has more influence, such as its behavioral health program. Commissioner Liz Hausmann, who also did not vote on the measure, said she has “deep sympathy” for the 17 people who were killed in Parkland, Fla. last month, but did not think it was appropriate for Fulton’s government to weigh in on gun issues.
Other leaders disagreed. Commissioner Marvin Arrington said Fulton County’s priorities include ensuring all people are both healthy and safe.
“You can’t be healthy if you’re getting gunned down at a school,” he said.
Commissioners Emma Darnell and Natalie Hall said they were pleased to support the resolution. Commissioner Lee Morris said he shared Ellis’ concerns about wading into an issue where the county doesn’t have influence. But, he said, he agrees that reasonable efforts are needed.
“I can be comfortable with it,” he said. “Our constituents are crying for something reasonable.”
The resolution, sponsored by Commission Chairman Robb Pitts, calls for retailers throughout the state to limit or prohibit gun sales to people who are at least 21 years old.
It also asks Georgia to limit or prohibit the sale of high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, keep the mentally ill from buying guns and create a universal database of individuals who are prohibited from buying guns.
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