The suspect in the deadly shooting spree at Asian massage parlors this week was able to buy the gun he used to carry out the heinous crime quicker than it takes for the average Georgia resident to register to vote in the Peach State.
Robert Aaron Long, a purported sex addict who shot nine people, killing eight, including six Asian women, decided on Tuesday to “eliminate” the temptation the massage parlors posed to him, police have said, apparently taking the accused murderer at his word. But before Long targeted the places linked to sex through his apparent implications, he went to a gun shop about eight miles from his hometown of Woodstock and legally purchased the 9 mm firearm he would later use to kill innocent, unarmed people.
Yes, that’s right — Long was able to buy the murderous weapon on the same day he carried out the killing. It was that quick and easy for him.
That swiftness stood in stark contrast to registering to vote, a process to participate in a civic duty that cannot be completed on the same day it is initiated.
Georgia counties issue precinct cards after reviewing and processing applications,” the state website says. “Please allow the county at least 3 to 4 weeks before contacting your county.”
While the state’s gun laws stay intact and make them accessible to anyone with a pulse and some money, Georgia’s state legislature has been working overtime to do the exact opposite when it comes to voting rights.
Georgia Republicans, in particular, have been on a tear to restrict voting rights after the state was flipped blue during the 2020 election and voted Democratic for the first time since 1992. They’ve been desperately trying to make it even harder to vote via absentee ballot after mail-in voting became the preferred method for millions more because of pandemic social distancing guidelines.
And just on Wednesday — one day after the spa shootings — Georgia Republicans were busy preparing a new 93-page bill “that would give the state broad powers over local election officials, set limits on weekend early voting and add voter ID requirements for absentee ballots,” CNN reported.
Conspicuously absent from the state legislature’s urgent agenda was anything addressing gun control.
The Giffords Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence — a group founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who survived being shot in the head by a gunman who killed six people and injured 12 others in 2011 — pointed out the loopholes in Georgia’s laws that allow same-day gun sales without first having to conduct a background check. Those loopholes have not only existed but also gone unchecked.
All of the above may not necessarily mean that the state’s gun laws are directly to blame for the shooting, but it does suggest that Georgia politicians and lawmakers have made their priorities known.