ATLANTA - A prosecutor paralyzed in a shooting has a message for Georgia lawmakers as the gun debate continues.
Fulton County Assistant District Attorney April Ross drove herself to the Channel 2 Action News studios in a specially fitted van after an appointment, she said, at the Shepherd Center.
She told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne that Georgia can do more to keep guns from people under a domestic violence order, or with certain mental conditions or below a certain age.
But that was not her main message.
“More than anything, what we should see it as here in Georgia is an opportunity to have a conversation, to sit down on both sides to take all the tension out of the air to take all of the one-sidedness out of the air and each listen to each other,” Ross told Winne.
Ross brings a kind of knowledge to the gun issue most of us don't have -- the kind that comes, she says, from looking down a gun barrel.
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“That moment when you don’t know if you are going to live or die, you don’t know what’s happening to your body as bullets are ripping through you,” Ross said.
In her case, estranged husband Tranard McConnell shot her three times, leaving her a quadriplegic. He also wounded a friend. But she says she's not anti-gun
“I understand Georgia is a gun-friendly state. I understand that Georgia believes in the Second Amendment. I believe in the Second Amendment, but I also believe that people have the right to be safe,” Ross told Winne.
She said her message to the Georgia General Assembly is about common ground.
“I want to see politics put to the side. I want to see everyone who has a stake come to the table and listen, hear each other out and see if we can come up with ideas to push legislation that’s good for Georgia,” Ross said.
Ross told Winne that having a gun wouldn’t have saved her, but she also knows of no proposed law that would've kept that gun out of her attacker's hands.
“I’m a prosecutor. I have no illusions about eliminating 100 percent of crime, gun violence. I just think that you can take measures to reduce,” Ross said.
She suggests the backlash after the Parkland High School shooting may help get the National Rifle Association to the table.
“I think being unwilling to listen and change is hurting them,” Ross told Winne.
Ross told Winne that she's been rebuilt following the shooting.
“With prayer, with support, with a determination. It takes courage,” Ross said.
Jerry Henry with GeorgiaCarry.org said he agrees with some things Ross said -- especially her belief that no law is going to take evil out of a criminal's heart.
Henry said his gun rights group and the NRA are right about not changing their stance on keeping the Second Amendment intact.
But he said both groups are willing to listen.
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