Sen. Bill Jackson, R-Appling, addressed his legislative colleagues during discussion of a mental-health bill that the sponsor said would do more to prevent mass shootings than gun control. Jackson picked up on that theme.
“More murders were committed last year with hammers than with shotguns, rifles or AK-47s,” he said.
He also mentioned a murder he read about where the victim was bludgeoned with a frying pan.
After the Senate passed the bill with his support, he said he doesn’t recall where he read the statistic about the frequency of murder weapons.
“It might have even been twice as many,” he told a reporter. “I’ll try and come up with it.”
His point, he said, was that no one is worried about regulating hammers and frying pans.
“If they’re going to take the guns, let’s take the frying pans and the hammers,” he said. “It’s crazy. That frying pan wasn’t going to go and get up out of the kitchen and kill nobody, now, until that varmint got a hold of it.”
His Augusta colleague, Democrat Hardie Davis, joked, “Thank goodness it wasn’t my wife.”
Jackson endured some friendly ribbing by other senators at a committee meeting later in the day. But his folksiness is generally appreciated.
Friday, he sang a gospel hymn to the whole Senate at the urging of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.
Davis was one of two senators who opposed the bill during debate. As a gun owner with a family member who struggled with mental illness, he said he was offended at the notion of an association between mental illness and murder.
“To talk about this in the context of gun legislation is unfair to those of us who are gun carriers,” he said.
The bill, Senate Bill 65, authorizes licensed counselors to order the involuntary commitment to a hospital for 72 hours in cases where a person is threatening to harm himself or others. It now goes to the House for consideration.