ATLANTA, GA–In a historic vote on Wednesday, the Georgia House of Representatives approved comprehensive and free healthcare coverage for firearms of all shape, color, and destructive ability. Governor Nathan Deal is expected to sign the bill into law next week.
Reps. Pat Smith, R-Gwinnett and Bill Colt, R-Muscogee introduced the bill, entitled “Complimentary Firearm Care Act.” It was passed with almost unanimous support after five minutes of debate. CoFCA ensures that every firearm available to Georgia residents, from Derringer pistols to stationary machine guns and flamethrowers, will receive healthcare coverage at no personal cost.
“This is a wonderful moment for gats, pieces, six-shooters, RPGs, AKs and Saturday night specials all over Georgia,” said Rep. Smith at a press conference following the vote. His own gun was visible in a holster at his side. “I brought my 9mm Uzi submachine gun to work just to witness history being made,” Smith said, smiling.
Brandishing his .38 snub nose revolver outside the capitol during a break, Rep. Mitch Remington, R-Carroll, said, “Firearms are important members of our community. But, they require near constant care. Do you know how expensive that can be? Before CoFCA, low-income guns, the kind you see at liquor stores and gas stations all the time, couldn’t afford even regular check-ups. I’m relieved to know that now they can.”
Some concern has been raised over funding for the legislation. In the weeks before the vote, opponents of the bill claimed that providing healthcare for guns would only add to Georgia’s already considerable budget deficit. Others said that CoFCA would lead to tax increases. A last minute stipulation to the bill addressed the issue by re-allocating funds from education and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.
Rep. Colt defended the addition. “How can we expect our children to get an education when their guns, or the guns of their teachers, won’t even work cause they haven’t been cleaned in years? The same goes for emergencies. Can you imagine responding to an emergency, any emergency, without a gun – just because it’s sitting at home with a small case of rust?”
Many were surprised that Democrats in the House supported the bill. The consensus of the party, said Minority whip Henrietta Woolf, D-Dekalb, was “disgusted resignation.”
Woolf went on, unprompted: “I mean, what the fuck can we do? They brought their goddamn guns. I couldn’t look down the barrel of Representative Wesson’s SAW light machine gun and not pass this bill.”
Comments from other Democrats confirmed such an attitude. An aid in the office of Chaz Russell, D-Fulton, said that Russell voted in favor because the legislation was unlikely to change things for his constituents, most of whom do not own guns or have already been shot. CoFCA, the aid reported, “is just more fuel for this bullet train to hell. What harm could it really do?”
The legislation comes almost a year after another milestone vote passed the Firearm Suffrage Act (FSU) in the House, granting guns explicit voting rights in all Georgia elections.