During hearing on gun violence, Georgia congressmen stick to partisan stances

From left, Zeneta Everhart, whose son Zaire Goodman, 20, was shot in the neck during the Buffalo Tops supermarket mass shooting and survived, Roy Guerrero, a pediatrician from Uvalde, Texas, Miguel Cerrillo, father of Miah Cerrillo fourth grade student at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, and Lucretia Hughes, of DC Project, Women for Gun Rights, are sworn in to testify during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on gun violence on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

Credit: AP

Combined ShapeCaption
From left, Zeneta Everhart, whose son Zaire Goodman, 20, was shot in the neck during the Buffalo Tops supermarket mass shooting and survived, Roy Guerrero, a pediatrician from Uvalde, Texas, Miguel Cerrillo, father of Miah Cerrillo fourth grade student at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, and Lucretia Hughes, of DC Project, Women for Gun Rights, are sworn in to testify during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on gun violence on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

Credit: AP

WASHINGTON — Georgia members of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which heard emotional testimony Wednesday from a fourth-grader who survived the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and a couple whose daughter did not, responded with remarks that echoed the partisan divide over gun safety.

Republican U.S. Reps. Jody Hice of Greensboro and Andrew Clyde of Athens oppose changing gun laws. U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, says changes are needed to stem gun violence.

Hice said religion and morality, or the absence thereof in American society, were the main factors contributing to the violence at the center of Wednesday’s hearing. Hice also pointed out that New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who was a member of a second panel of witnesses, oversees a city with rising crime despite its tough gun laws.

“It doesn’t appear that the attempts that are produced by the gun restrictions are having any effect of keeping bad people from getting guns,” Hice said. “And taking the constitutional rights away from American citizens only helps criminals.”

Clyde, who owns a gun store in Athens, said he mourns for those who died in Uvalde and other recent tragedies. These incidents highlighted the need for additional school security, Clyde said, but he rejected the notion that changes to gun laws would save lives.

“What occurred in Uvalde and other communities like Sandy Hook and Parkland was nothing short of heartbreaking tragedies and evil deeds,” he said. “Heartbreaking and evil for the loss of innocent life, but also because from what I have seen in the news about Uvalde I believe it was mostly preventable.”

Johnson, the only Georgia Democrat on the panel, rejected claims from Republicans that the best way to prevent future mass shootings is by ensuring law-abiding citizens can freely purchase and carry firearms. He said the right to bear arms should not take precedence over safety and security.

“What about the right to live of the 19 children and two teachers killed in Uvalde?” he said. “The 10 shoppers killed in Buffalo, New York: What about their right to live? What about the right to live for countless others who died from street gun violence? How much more blood should be shed before we in Congress take action?”