Georgia State Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) has filed legislation that would, if enacted into law, make it a crime for an adult to knowingly have unsecured or unsafely stored firearms around minors.
Six other state senators are co-sponsoring Parent’s bill, according to the Georgia General Assembly’s website.
If law enforcement officials suspect any adult breached that law then they could charge that person with a misdemeanor, Parent told The Georgia Star News Monday. She said a law in Texas inspired her to submit this bill in Georgia.
“I feel like it is not proper to store loaded firearms unsafely when there are children who can get their hands on it, which, unfortunately, they do, not infrequently, and harm themselves and others because they are not old enough to understand what it is and how it operates,” Parent said.
Parent’s bill allows for certain exceptions. One exception, according to the language of the bill, allows parents to supervise their children while hunting. Another exception allows for self-defense.
“Obviously, it is a first draft. I might be OK if I got feedback to put in some sort of exception, maybe for older children, potentially, but I would have to think about that. Under a certain age I would not be OK with adding an exception. Maybe kids who are 13,” Parent said.
“And then for those that are over , one of the things that needs attention is the amount of youth suicides and having an unsecured gun in the home makes it more likely that there is a fatal suicide attempt of a minor.”
Parent also said that far more children die accidentally shooting themselves versus children who successfully ward off intruders. Parent did not corroborate those two statements with any independent research.
“I just feel like if it is clearly illegal in our law to speed and run red lights then kids don’t have the maturity to handle something like that [firearms],” Parent said.
“It is something we need to make explicit in our laws.”
– – –