Non-Profit Organization Considers Georgia Gun Laws Weak

June 16, 2008

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Are Georgia's gun laws tough enough? A non-profit group says thousands of gun crimes in other states point right back to Georgia. The Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence blames Georgia's gun laws and says it's too easy to buy a gun here.

This is the second year in a row that Georgia has topped this gun violence list. The Brady Center analyzed federal crime data to compile the list. They want Georgia to put some teeth in their gun laws, while local gun dealers say the laws are pretty tough as they stand.

Bullets fly as quick as the finger presses the trigger. They hit their target with swiftness. Sales for those guns at Solo Archery can also go pretty fast.

"Guns are popular here in South Georgia. They're pretty much popular everywhere," said Solo Archery Owner Robbie Sifford.

The popularity has different purposes for different people. "Some people want to buy one for protection. Some people want to buy one for the sport of shooting a gun," said Sifford. But unfortunately, guns sometimes end up in the wrong hands to do unfortunate things.

"They generally include everything from drug possession and assaults, all the way up to homicides," said Daniel Vice, Senior Attorney at The Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence.

According to the Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence, many of the guns used to commit some of those crimes in other states have been traced back to Georgia. "New gun crime data shows that Georgia is the number one exporter of crime guns nationwide," said Vice.

The data shows that in 2007, more than 2,600 crime guns recovered in other states were traced to Georgia gun dealers. Florida and Texas closely follow rounding out the top three. "Gun sales are highly favored in Georgia by gun traffickers and criminals because it's so easy to get guns," said Vice.

That's why Vice says they'll be pushing for change. "We will continue to work in the states and in Congress to make sure the voice of the people are heard that we need to stop the gun violence in our communities and protect families from criminals with easy access to firearms," said Vice.

At the same time, Robbie Sifford will make sure every sale at his store is legit using Georgia's law that he feels is already tough. "It is pretty strict. You've got to have a good, clean background. Just anybody can't buy a gun," said Sifford.

Sifford says buyers have to pass a background check, have a valid driver's license and be a Georgia resident to purchase a gun.

Vice says gun crimes linked to other states aren't the only problem. He says the death rate right here at home is higher than the national average and higher than states that have what he calls stronger gun laws.

They want Georgia to make changes like making sure large quantities of guns can't be purchased at the same time and making sure law enforcement has the tools they need to crack down on illegal sales.

The Brady Center found that New Jersey, Rhode Island and Hawaii had the fewest number of crime guns traced back to them.