PG A.M.: Mass shootings prompt Warnock to renew push for gun safety measures

Your daily jolt of news and analysis from the AJC politics team
U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., continues to push for legislation to curb gun violence. (Arvin Temkar/arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., continues to push for legislation to curb gun violence. (Arvin Temkar/arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

A year ago, Georgians awoke to the news of U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock’s runoff victory over Republican Herschel Walker.

Warnock marked his Election Day anniversary Wednesday by calling for action on one of his legislative priorities: gun violence prevention. He delivered a speech on the Senate floor citing the number of mass shootings, listed at 630 at the time by the online Gun Violence Archive. He also called for Congress to reduce gun violence by passing universal background check requirements.

“As a pastor, I presided over the funerals,” Warnock said. “And it begs me to ask: How is it that we can’t keep our own people alive? What kind of nation tells its children that the only thing we can do in the wake of this crisis is to teach you how to hide?”

Within hours, the mass shootings number grew again, with yet another high-profile example of violence for Warnock to cite. Three people were killed and another person critically injured in a shooting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The suspected gunman also died.

Warnock ended Wednesday night talking about gun violence again, this time in an appearance with MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell. He noted that Senate Democrats have tried to pass background check legislation and an assault weapon ban by unanimous consent, a technique used to fast-track noncontroversial measures, but Republicans objected.

“Here we are again, Lawrence, discussing this,” Warnock said. “And unfortunately, this has become the tragic routine in the United States of America.”

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In the U.S. House, Rep. Hank Johnson introduced gun violence prevention legislation that would create a federal gun licensing system and implement universal background checks. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for the AJC

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Credit: Nathan Posner for the AJC

MORE ON GUNS. In the U.S. House, Rep. Hank Johnson introduced gun violence prevention legislation that would create a federal gun licensing system and implement universal background checks.

Johnson, D-Lithonia, partnered with Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on the measure.

“Commonsense gun laws — like the Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act — as well as direct investments in the communities that are most affected by gun violence are crucial to ending gun violence and saving lives,” Johnson said in a statement about his bill.

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Minority Leader Sen. Gloria Butler reads the Democrat redistricting proposal maps documents at the state Capitol in Atlanta on Nov. 30, 2023. Federal Judge Steve Jones gave Georgia lawmakers a deadline of midnight tonight to send him new congressional and legislative maps that meet the legal standard of the Voting Rights Act. (Miguel Martinez/miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com)

Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

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Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

MIDNIGHT DEADLINE. Federal Judge Steve Jones gave Georgia lawmakers a Friday deadline to send him new congressional and legislative maps that meet the legal standard of the Voting Rights Act.

Legislators are on track to meet that deadline with new maps passed for the state House and Senate and a map for congressional districts that needs just one more step —state House approval.

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The Georgia State Capitol. (Casey Sykes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Casey Sykes for the AJC

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Credit: Casey Sykes for the AJC

UNDER THE GOLD DOME:

  • 10 a.m.: The House gavels in.
  • 10 a.m.: The Senate convenes.

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CATCH UP. Missed last night’s Republican debate in Alabama? Our Greg Bluestein delivers the highlights.

The big winner was former President Donald Trump, who again boycotted the debate and avoided scathing attacks from his top rivals, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.

After Trump earlier this week declined to say he wouldn’t use the White House to retaliate against political enemies, his GOP opponents had a golden opportunity to knife him. Instead, they demurred.

That is, with the exception of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who had his most compelling performance yet.

“Do I think he was kidding when he said he was a dictator? All you have to do is look at the history,” said Christie, who drew boos from the crowd when he said Trump cares only about himself — and not the American people.

“I finally got a chance,” Christie told reporters in the afterglow of the debate.

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‘BIG FIRE’ IN SAVANNAH. Conservative activist Beth Majeroni has built her public profile in recent years with her inflammatory political rhetoric at Savannah-area government meetings.

She drew attention in July after videos appeared online of police officers physically removing her — carrying her by her hands and feet — from a Chatham County Board of Elections meeting.

On Wednesday, she moved to leverage her notoriety by launching a bid for a state Senate seat.

Majeroni will mount a GOP primary election challenge against Sen. Ben Watson, chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. A 13-year veteran of the General Assembly, he is the heavy favorite to retain the seat.

Majeroni’s campaign announcement email referred to her by the nickname “Big Fire” but left the reasoning behind the combustible moniker a mystery.

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LISTEN UP. U.S. House candidate Jerica Richardson joins today’s edition of the “Politically Georgia” radio show, which airs at 10 a.m. on WABE 90.1 FM and livestreams at AJC.com and WABE.org.

Richardson, a Democrat currently serving on the Cobb County Commission, is among those closely monitoring the Georgia General Assembly’s redistricting session and the reshaping of several metro Atlanta congressional districts, including the one she intends to run for office in.

Jerica Richardson, a Democrat currently serving on the Cobb County Commission, will be featured on the "Politically Georgia" show. (Arvin Temkar/arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

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Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

If you missed Wednesday’s show you can listen to it as a podcast. The episode featured a discussion with University of Georgia professor Charles Bullock along with Bobby Kahn, who was chief of staff to Gov. Roy Barnes during the 2001 redistricting session, the last time Democrats held majority control of the Legislature and led the redrawing of Georgia’s voting districts.

Listen and subscribe to “Politically Georgia” at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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MCCARTHY OUT. Two months after he was ousted as U.S. House speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday he will leave Congress at the end of the year.

McCarthy, who was not in Washington, D.C. for votes on Wednesday, made the announcement on social media.

The Californian’s resignation doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as it was clear he did not enjoy his return to rank-and-file status after a brief eight months as the House leader and second in line to the presidency.

Still, there are many McCarthy supporters who remain in the House GOP Conference who are still angry at the handful of colleagues who voted with Democrats to push him out.

Among them is U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who enjoyed a new level of status and access under McCarthy’s speakership. She has feuded with various colleagues since his ouster. Greene, R-Rome, also noted that once McCarthy steps down the narrow Republican majority will become even thinner.

“I can assure you Republican voters didn’t give us the majority to crash the ship,” she wrote on X.

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TODAY IN WASHINGTON:

  • President Joe Biden has no public events scheduled.
  • The Senate could vote on more confirmations and advance the National Defense Authorization Act, the annual military policy package.
  • The House votes on a resolution to censure Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a New York Democrat, after he pleaded guilty to a local criminal charge for pulling a fire alarm during votes on government funding.

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Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart walks from the field after Alabama defeated Georgia 27-24 to bring a 29-game winning streak to a halt following the SEC Championship football game at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, on Saturday, December 2, 2023.  (Jason Getz/Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason.Getz/AJC

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Credit: Jason.Getz/AJC

SETTLING UP. After making a friendly wager over the SEC Championship football game, two Georgians in Congress had to pay off their debt to colleagues in Alabama.

Reps. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, and Nikema Williams, D-Atlanta, delivered two big bags full of food from Chick-fil-A to Alabama Reps. Terri Sewell and Robert Aderholt. That was the price they agreed to pay if the Crimson Tide beat the Bulldogs.

Carter attended last weekend’s heartbreaker of a game, which not only ruined Georgia’s perfect season but resulted in the team missing the College Football Playoffs.

During the bet payoff exchange outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Carter donned a University of Alabama tie and Williams held a signed game ball.

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Ally Edmunds is a 15-year-old rescue who is living the #lakelife with her person, Kalia Edmunds, in Pine Lake, Ga. (Courtesy photo)

Credit: Courtesy photo

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Credit: Courtesy photo

DOG OF THE DAY. Meet Ally Edmunds, a 15-year-old lakeside retiree who calls Kalia Edmunds her person.

These two are living the #lakelife in Pine Lake, where a dog of a certain age such as Ally can still walk to the water and take time to smell the smells. When she’s not enjoying the great outdoors, Ally also likes to pick out her socks or lay by a hot air vent while Kalia reads the daily edition of the AJC. That’s what we call a life well lived.

Ally, we salute you! You’re our Dog of the Day.

Isn’t retiring to lake life what it’s all about?

Send us your dogs of any political persuasion and location, and cats on a cat-by-cat basis, to patricia.murphy@ajc.com, or DM us at @MurphyAJC.

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AS ALWAYS, “Politically Georgia” readers are some of our favorite tipsters. Send your best scoop, gossip and insider info to greg.bluestein@ajc.com, tia.mitchell@ajc.com, patricia.murphy@ajc.com, and adam.vanbrimmer@ajc.com.