(ATLANTA) — A legal fight could be brewing in Georgia after a General Assembly member introduced a measure to restrict any potential “red-flag” gun laws from being enacted.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. Ken Pullin, is calling the measure the “Anti-Red Flag — Second Amendment Conservation Act.” It comes as the state and Congress consider legislation allowing judges to empower law enforcement to remove guns from individuals deemed a threat to themselves or others.
Pullin’s bill, which has six co-sponsors, would make it illegal to enforce those laws in Georgia, establishing a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
“It is the responsibility of the General Assembly to protect the people of Georgia when unconstitutional legislation is passed and signed into law, or executive orders are issued by the United States Federal Government that infringes upon or interferes with people’s preexisting rights and liberties guaranteed by the United States Constitution,” reads the text of the bill, which was introduced Monday.
Georgia state Rep. Matthew Wilson, a Democrat, last year introduced a red-flag bill that would have allowed family members or law enforcement officers to petition a judge to remove guns from potentially dangerous individuals — people who’ve made explicit threats, have mental health issues or have inflicted self harm. That bill also had six co-sponsors.
Pullin’s office didn’t immediately return a request for comment from ABC News. He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he was unsure if his bill would pass, but he wanted to send a message and push back against red-flag proposals.
Jonathan Lowy, chief legal counsel for the Brady Campaign, called Pullin’s bill one of the most outrageous pieces of legislation he’s ever seen.
“It would put law enforcement officers in a position where they would either have to neglect to do the job they are sworn to do, or go into prison,” he said.
Lowy, who’s led lawsuits against anti-gun control measures, said he would be keeping an eye on the Georgia bills and would not rule out legal action if Pullin’s bill were enacted with its current language.
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have passed red-flag laws amid growing calls to curb mass shootings. In Florida, authorities removed 2,227 guns from individuals from March 2018, when the state’s red-flag law was enacted, to July 2019, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Legislation in Congress to enact nationwide red-flag laws has stalled recently, even with bipartisan support for such measures previously. In August, President Donald Trump expressed support for such laws.
At the same time, several American towns, particularly in Virginia, declare themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries,” where they have declared to oppose state and federal laws that would limit the sale and ownership of guns.
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