Gov. Kemp’s Support for Constitutional Carry

Marjorie Smedley, Staff Writer

In at least 21 states in the United States, people are allowed to carry handguns without a permit for both concealed and open carry. With the support of Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia may become now the twenty-second to do so. In legislation introduced earlier this month, Georgia permit laws may change to allow people to carry handguns in both open and concealed carry without any need for permits. Open carry for guns means that a person can carry a gun without having to conceal it under clothes, while concealed carry means that the gun must be concealed and not able to be seen by others. Previously, permit laws in Georgia required permits for both concealed and open carry for handguns, with no permit or license required to buy both long guns and handguns. The new development in Georgia’s gun laws comes after Texas recently became the 21st state to no longer require permits for handguns, as many Republicans have pushed to do in many states, such as Montana and Tennessee.

One of Kemp’s main campaign promises in his bid for office was to relax gun laws across Georgia; however, no laws advanced to the State Legislature during his term in office. In the midst of an intense Republican primary, his challenger, former Senator David Perdue has been noted to be an avid supporter of less restricting gun laws, and also backs this particular legislation. Kemp expressed interest in getting the legislation passed in the upcoming 2022 Spring Legislative Session, with the added support of the NRA and GA Rep. members such as Emory Dunahoo [R]. Dunahoo also sponsored a gun rights bill in 2021, however, like many other gun rights bills, it never passed. Main detractors and opponents of the legislation include much of Democratic party, such as Rep. Lucy McBath and Stacy Abrams, with Republican Rep. Bill Hitchins also opposing the bill.

Georgia ranked fourth highest in 2016 for gun violence deaths, with a total of 1,571 deaths. As a whole, the US ranks eighth in the world for highest firearm homicide, and first for high-income countries. Gun violence increased in Georgia in 2021, with 902 incidents of gun-violence that lead to death and over 1,319 gun-related injuries. There were 22 mass shootings last year, including the Atlanta Spa shootings that left eight dead in March of 2021. As of Jan. 13, there have been 19 gun-related deaths and 38 injuries in 2022. 65 children aged 0-17 died from firearms in 2020, in addition to 128 children sustaining injuries related to gun violence. In addition, this legislation comes after a school shooting in Michigan which left four dead and seven injured, as well as a Tik Tok trend which encouraged students to bring weapons to school. This national trend encouraged students to bring weapons to school and make threats encouraging gun violence on Dec. 17, 2021.

“I don’t support this legislation,” says junior Alicia Baston-Sandoval, “You don’t know how many lunatics there are in the world.”

Reaching out to Rep. Drew Ferguson, who represents GA’s third district as well as Fayette County, had this to say about the legislation.

“I am a strong supporter of every law-abiding citizen’s Second Amendment rights. It is imperative that we do not take actions that would infringe on these rights or prevent Americans from being able to protect themselves and their families,” said Rep. Ferguson in a response to an email, “While I agree with Governor Kemp’s position, I am not a member of the Georgia General Assembly and do not have the ability to influence this legislation. As a Member of the United States House of Representatives, I will continue to protect the freedoms guaranteed to us by the Constitution.”

Sources:

https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/congress/ga