The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action is blaming Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams (R-Lyons) and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) for working behind the scenes and against the NRA to kill an amendment authored by Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville) to his own Senate Bill 350.
Senate Leadership — more specifically state Senate President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams and state Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers — worked against the NRA’s efforts behind the scenes and helped persuade their colleagues in the Republican Senate caucus that the NRA’s employee protection legislation was too divisive of an issue and it was apparently more important to side with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Association of Realtors than to uphold the rights of law-abiding gun owners throughout the state.
It is unclear on what basis the NRA makes those assertions against Senators Williams and Rogers.
Senate Bill 350 provides that firearms seized by law enforcement agencies that are not being used as evidence must be returned to their rightful, legal owners if the owner was innocent of wrongdoing.
The Balfour amendment would have protected employees who keep a gun locked in their car at their place of employment from being fired for that reason. The Georgia Chamber of Commerce opposed the Balfour amendment.
Recently, the AJC’s Jim Galloway wrote about Balfour’s plan to offer the amendment.
Four years ago, Balfour was a key figure in the business-backed fight against a bill pushed by the National Rifle Association that would have allowed legal gun-owners to keep firearms in locked cars on their employers’ parking lots.
But in the four years’ since, the Senate rules chairman has had a change of heart – the result, he said, of a conversation with NRA chief Wayne LaPierre, who made this point: “If every business owner said you can’t have a gun in their parking lot, the only place you could have a gun is at home.”
So why isn’t Balfour’s change of heart contained in his legislation? Because, the rules chairman said, it is still a delicate issue among key GOP constituencies – chambers of commerce and Second Amendment enthusiasts. The Senate Republican caucus hasn’t reached a consensus on the issue, he said.