Conservative Georgia Congressman Expresses Support For Some Gun Control Measures

January 11, 2013 11:09 a.m.

In remarks Thursday to a Chamber of Commerce meeting in Georgia, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) expressed a willingness to discuss new gun control measures already rejected by the National Rifle Association in the wake of the Newtown shooting. Among them: a ban on high-capacity magazines and the creation of a universal background check process on firearms purchases.

Gingrey’s remarks — which came in speech to the Cobb Chamber of Commerce in Smyrna, Ga., and were reported by the Marietta Daily Journal — were unexpected. Gingrey is a very conservative member of House majority, and his comments put him at odds with some fellow Republicans.“There are some problems, and maybe these huge magazines even for someone who says, ‘Look, I just use an AR-15 for target practice,’ but do you really need to be standing there shooting at a silhouette a shot a second or even quicker with that kind of weapon? For what purpose?” Gingrey said. “I would be willing to listen to the possibility of the capacity of a magazine.”

On the background checks, Gingrey expressed an openness to talking about expanding them to cover private sales, including those conducted at gun shows.

“What it is basically, if you go to a gun show and there’s somebody out there in the parking lot, and they’re getting out of their car, and they’ve got an A-15 on their shoulder or …. John Q. Public wants to sell a handgun or whatever, then there’s no background check,” Gingrey said, according to the paper. “You know, you’re buying a used weapon from somebody and then basically no background check.”

Both of these ideas are supported by gun control advocates and have been summarily dismissed by the NRA. Gingrey also called for a list that would prevent the mentally ill from buying guns, which the NRA supports.

Gingrey’s comments on gun control may have been overshadowed by other remarks he made in the same Chamber of Commerce appearance suggesting that former Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) was “partially right” when he said that women’s bodies will prevent pregnancy resulting from a “legitimate rape.”

In a statement Friday to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Gingrey reiterated his support for the Second Amendment but didn’t back off what he told the business leaders about gun control in Smyrna.

“As a father and grandfather, I am heartbroken at the tragedy in Newtown. No parent, child, or community should have to suffer such devastation and overwhelming grief,” he said. “At the same time, as we begin a national dialogue on how to prevent future tragedies, it is of paramount importance to defend our Second Amendment rights. Throughout my political career, I’ve been a tireless advocate of Second Amendment rights and will continue to be one moving forward.”

As Greg Sargent noted, Gingrey — who has an “A” rating from the NRA — may be “a small crack in wall of GOP opposition to gun reform.”

Audio of Gingrey’s comments:

Support The TPM Journalism Fund
  • Contributions allow us to hire more journalists
  • Contributions allow us to provide free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • Contributions support independent, non-corporate journalism
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: