The 2016 Georgia General Assembly officially adjourned early Friday morning, March 25th, with several highly-anticipated pieces of legislation left on the table. Under Georgia law, bills that have been introduced during the legislative session but not passed are not carried over to the 2017 session. In effect, those bills are dead.
One such bill that met a timely death, was House Bill 731.
Introduced on January 11, 2016, sponsored by Mary Margaret Oliver (D-83rd) and fifteen other Democrat women House members, HB731 was intended to prohibit the possession, sale, transport, distribution, or use of certain assault weapons, large capacity magazines, armor-piercing bullets, and incendiary .50 caliber bullets. It also went so far as to designate certain weaponry and ammunition as contraband and to require seizure of such by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Under the proposed measure, anyone who possessed an assault weapon or a large-capacity magazine would have had until Oct. 31, 2017 to either modify the weapon to “render it permanently inoperable, or such that it is no longer an assault weapon or large capacity magazine” or give the firearm over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to be destroyed, under the legislation.
The proposed bill goes on for almost two pages, explaining and specifically naming the types of guns that are included in the sponsors’ definition of an “assault weapon.” Here’s just a portion of that section of the bill:
(3) ‘Assault weapon’ means:
(A) Any selective fire firearm capable of fully automatic, semiautomatic, or burst fire at the option of the user and any part designed or intended for use with such firearm;
(B) Any of the following semiautomatic firearms: the Algimec Agmi; Armalite AR-180; Australian Automatic Arms SAP Pistol; Auto-Ordnance Thompson type; Avtomat Kalashnikov AK-47 type; Barrett Light-Fifty model 82A1; Beretta AR-70; Bushmaster Auto Rifle and Auto Pistol … (and others too numerous to list here).
(C) Any of the following semiautomatic center-fire rifles: the AK-47; AK-74; AKM; AKS-74U; ARM; MAADI AK47; MAK90; MISR; NHM90; NHM91; Norinco…. (and other too numerous to list here).
The proposed measure also defined a “large-capacity magazine” to be “any firearm magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has the capacity of, or can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than ten rounds of ammunition.”
According to U.S. Law Shield of Georgia Independent Program Attorney Matt Kilgo, “This misguided legislation would have had no effect on crime and would have only affected law-abiding gun owners in Georgia, potentially turning them into criminals overnight.”
“Law-abiding Georgia gun owners can rest easy knowing their Constitutional rights have not been infringed,” says Kilgo.
The bill never made it out of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, where it met an appropriate demise.
We will watch the next session to see if a similar measure rises from the ashes.