State senate candidates oppose new gun law

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 10:39 PM
Last updated Wednesday, April 30, 2014 10:56 AM
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The New Zion Hill Mis­sionary Baptist Church sanctuary is no place for guns, a sentiment Augusta’s three candidates for state Senate District 22 shared at a forum there Tuesday.

“I don’t know what they were thinking about,” Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson said of the state’s expansive new gun law, which Gov. Nathan Deal signed last week.

“Why does it matter if you can bring a gun into church? When I’m elected, I’m going to fight that bill,” he said.

Johnson’s fellow Demo­crats in the May 20 primary, which has no Republican contenders, basically agreed with his response to the question about the gun bill, posed at the church where Johnson said he’d been baptized.

Former state court solicitor Harold Jones said “possibly some rational, reasonable people might make some changes to the law.”

Realtor Elmyria Chivers recalled the morning’s shooting at an Atlanta-area shipping warehouse and the 1974 shooting death of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s mother and said she didn’t support the new law,

From there, the candidates did their best to distinguish themselves from one another.

Johnson, who has served two terms on the Augusta Commission, touted his experience, including work relocating residents from the Hyde Park community and ongoing cleanup, as an asset he’d take to Atlanta.

“You have a better success rate when you know what the needs are,” he said.

Jones said voters had entrusted him, “at 34, to run the office” of solicitor for the first of two terms, then took a different stance on a common question about racial division in Augusta.

“They’re just political divisions,” Jones said, not racial ones.

“You don’t hear ‘race’ ” describing the political infighting in Atlanta or Washington, D.C., he said.

Also gathered at the forum – sponsored by the Augusta branch of the NAACP – were candidates for the District 4 commission seat held by Alvin Mason, who is running for mayor.

The Rev. Melvin Ivey, an outspoken pastor and a plaintiff in an ongoing lawsuit over the May 20 election date, emphasized his “courage” to stand alone for what he believes is right and the “great need for fairness” in city government.

Ivey also stressed that building a water park in south Richmond County would provide the development push the area desperately needs.

“Businesses follow activity,” Ivey said, promising to win the May 20 election by advance votes alone.

While originally included in a master list of potential Augusta Recreation, Parks and Facilities projects to be included on the most recent one-cent sales tax package, the multi-million-dollar water park at Diamond Lakes Regional Park did not make the final cut on the list going before voters May 20.

Longtime neighborhood association activist Sammie Sias said he wasn’t going to preach or yell at the audience of more than 100 gathered at the church.

“When the VA wanted the veterans to go through the back door, we handled that issue,” Sias said of a 2010 battle over a new facility for homeless veterans.

Sias noted how often he receives and answers calls from across the community.

“The citizens come first, before egos and ambitions,” he said.

Former Wrens city Councilwoman Tomasenia Jackson said while she might be relatively new to Richmond County, she was no stranger to politics and had a track record voters should check out.

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Little Lamb
Little Lamb 04/30/14 - 07:51 am

From the story:

“Why does it matter if you can bring a gun into church? When I’m elected, I’m going to fight that bill,” State Senatorial candidate Corey Johnson said.

I think that statement shows that Corey Johnson is not yet ready for prime time in the Georgia Senate. I'm sorry to burst your bubble, Mr. Johnson, but it is too late to fight "that bill." What Gov. Deal recently signed into law is no longer a "bill." No, it is state law!.

If you go to Atlanta and waste your time trying to undo a brand new law that has yet to be tested, then you are not serving your Augusta constituents. You would be doing nothing but stroking your own ego.

Leave the law alone and see what its results are before you try to change it or repeal it.

Marinerman1 04/30/14 - 11:41 am
Take A Deep Breath Corey

Corey - before you open mouth, and insert foot, please read the law. The law gives the church's governing body, the right to decide one way or the other. While I expect some, if not most churches will say "no", remember that there have been shootings inside God's House.

ColCo 04/30/14 - 05:06 pm
Will be an interesting feat of strategery

Cory, How can you fight against a bill that has already been signed into law?

jimmymac 04/30/14 - 05:20 pm

You just gave everyone a reason not to vote for you in the next election. First off it's already the law and second churches can decide if they allow guns in their places of worship. My goodness at least know what's in the law before you run off in the mouth about it.

rmwhitley 04/30/14 - 05:21 pm
The majority

of gun offenders are typically democratic by demographics but democrats don't wish to address the criminality of their constituents. They prefer to tax the conservative base who pay the VAST majority of the nations taxes. democrats, clean up your own trash before you place blame on those who actually pay the freight.

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