Polling shows a tight race for a U.S. Senate seat that could determine the balance of power in the next Congress. The stakes for the Second Amendment couldn’t be higher.
Georgians watched a debate between their two U.S. Senate candidates leading up to the midterm election on Nov. 8. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and challenger Republican Herschel Walker faced off on the issues including the Second Amendment. The differences between the two are stark and the #GUNVOTE choice for Georgians is clear.
Sen. Warnock has been in the Senate for only two years, a seat he won in a 2020 special election. He’s already amassed an anti-gun voting record and supported defund the police policies. He’s got the hypocrisy to go with it. Sen. Warnock voted to limit the rights of law-abiding Americans to protect themselves but paid big — more than $600,000 — for private armed security for himself.
Debate questions were posed over rising crime and gun rights. While Sen. Warnock dodged around his record, Walker left no doubt about how he’d stand up for Georgians’ Second Amendment rights.
“First of all, any law or bill passed that will effect anyone’s Second Amendment – I’m not going to stand for and I won’t support,” Walker stated. “And to hear Sen. Warnock talk about supporting law enforcement – it’s sad… He’s empowered criminals to think they’re better than the police…To hear him talk about that is a disgrace.”
Walker’s matter-of-factness earned him praise from Atlanta media, usually supportive of gun control. Atlanta Journal Constitution political columnist Patricia Murphy said Walker was “prepared, aggressive and direct.”
A Record to Run From
Sen. Warnock attempted to spin his record on gun rights. He claimed support for law enforcement, hoping Georgia voters forgot that he called police officers gangsters, thugs, bullies and a threat to children during his campaign two years ago.
Prior to his election to the Senate, Sen. Warnock – also a Reverend – mocked Georgia churchgoers and decried Georgia lawmakers for passing the Safe Carry Protection Act.
“Somebody decided that they had a bright idea to pass a piece of legislation that will allow for guns and concealed weapons to be carried in churches,” he said.
Sen. Warnock added that places of worship were “the last place” for firearms and gun owners who carry in church are “crazy people.” Shortly after, Jack Wilson, a concealed carry permit holder and volunteer security guard used his concealed firearm to stop a murderer from inflicting unthinkable violence on fellow churchgoers during a religious service at the West Freeway Church of Christ, in White Settlement, Texas.
Sen. Warnock’s anti-Second Amendment Senate record garnered him endorsements from national gun control groups. Moms Demand Action included Sen. Warnock in their earliest slate of announced “gunsense” candidates. Everytown for Gun Safety has too and so has the Gun Sense Voter gun control group.
Sen. Warnock’s legislative “priorities” include signing on as a co-sponsor to S. 736, Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) “assault weapons ban” bill of 2021. That bill would ban the sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of a so-called “assault weapons,” or semiautomatic modern sporting rifles (MSRs).
NSSF data showed there are more than 24.4 million of these commonly-owned centerfire rifles in circulation today, more than there are Ford F-150 pickup trucks on the road.
Peach State Priorities
The ability of law-abiding Georgians to exercise their right to possess lawfully purchased firearms has been front-of-mind with the election only three weeks away. Voters supported the state legislators who passed Georgia’s Constitutional Carry law that was signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.
They’re also voting with their wallets. Since 2020, nearly 1.4 million Georgians passed an FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verification to purchase a firearm, according to NSSF-adjusted NICS data.
Statewide, Gov. Brian Kemp has made his support for the firearm industry unquestionable by attracting dozens of businesses to move to Georgia from less-friendly environments. It’s meaningful to voters as their paychecks have risen. In Georgia, that means the firearm industry supports more than 9,000 jobs and has an economic impact of nearly $1.8 billion.
Walker’s support for continuing those strong Second Amendment traditions would be a change from Sen. Warnock. That #GUNVOTE could be the difference on election day as voters head to the polls so they don’t risk their rights.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.