Brian Kemp
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
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By Sudhin Thanawala and Jeff Amy, AP

Facing an unusual challenge from fellow Republicans in his bid for a second term, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday he will push for a new state law that would loosen requirements to carry a handgun in public.

Kemp made the announcement at a gun shop outside Atlanta that bills itself as the “world’s largest gun store,” where he was joined by members of the National Rifle Association and state lawmakers.

Kemp did not lay out specific changes he was seeking but expressed support for what gun rights advocates call “constitutional carry.” Multiple bills purporting to advance that idea in the state Legislature would do away with the need for a license to carry a handgun in public — either openly or concealed on one’s body.

“Building a safer, stronger Georgia starts with hardworking Georgians having the ability to protect themselves and their families,” Kemp said. “In the face of rising violent crime across the country, law-abiding citizens should have their constitutional rights protected.”

The move drew condemnation from gun safety advocates and the campaign of Kemp’s likely Democratic opponent in this year’s governor’s race, Stacey Abrams.

Kemp emphasized his support for the 2nd Amendment during his first campaign for governor, appearing in multiple ads with shotguns, including one in which he brandished a shotgun at an actor playing a suitor of one of his daughters.

brian kemp

“The same guy who pointed a gun at a teenager on TV now panders with reckless proposals threatening Georgia lives,” Abrams’ campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, said in a tweet. “As her opponents run to dangerous extremes and fight desperately to salvage their political careers, @staceyabrams is fighting for Georgians and their safety.”

More than 20 other states allow concealed weapons in public without a permit, according to Stateline, an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The Georgia chapter of Moms Demand Action said the laws “significantly hinder law enforcement’s ability to prevent people with dangerous histories — including extremists and white supremacists with criminal histories — to carry firearms, putting public safety in jeopardy.”

Courtney Spriggs, a volunteer leader with the group, accused Kemp ahead of the announcement of playing “political games that could cost Georgians their lives.”

Kemp endorsed “constitutional carry” during his first campaign, but has been less vocal about the policy since taking office. He failed to mention the issue in his 2019, 2020 or 2021 State of the State speeches, when governors urge their top priorities on lawmakers.

He said Wednesday he has been fulfilling campaign promises while also dealing with the pandemic and needed the legislature to pass a constitutional carry bill before he could sign it. Georgia House Speaker David Ralston has indicated he is open to some form of permitless carry legislation this year after setting aside a gun-related bill in the closing hours of the regular session last year, saying it was too soon after the shooting deaths of eight people at massage businesses in metro Atlanta.

But one of Kemp’s Republican challengers, former U.S. Senator David Perdue, has identified “constitutional carry” as a top issue and slammed Kemp for failing to deliver it. With support from former President Donald Trump, Perdue announced in December that he was entering the governor’s race. Perdue lost his Senate seat to Democrat Jon Ossoff in a January 2021 runoff.

He criticized the governor ahead of Wednesday’s announcement.

“I’m glad Brian Kemp is answering my call for constitutional carry in Georgia,” Perdue tweeted late Monday. “But real leaders lead from the start – and it’s time Georgia had a Governor who shows principled leadership when it matters most.”

Kemp appeared to clap back, saying in his remarks at the gun shop that the view that people have the right to carry a firearm without state approval “has recently become popular for others as we enter campaign season.”

Georgia currently requires people to obtain a license to carry a loaded handgun outside their own home, business, or car, although people can carry rifles and shotguns in many places without a permit and carry unloaded guns in cases.

To obtain a weapons license, state residents must submit an application and fee and undergo fingerprinting and a background check. Convicted felons and people who have been hospitalized for mental health problems or received treatment for drugs or alcohol in the years preceding the application are not eligible.

One key question, if licenses are abolished, is what the state would do, if anything, to try to prevent convicted felons and people with mental illness from carrying handguns outside.

Republican state Sen. Jason Anavitarte of Dallas, co-sponsor of one of the “constitutional carry” bills, said people want the policy passed.

“It’s our inherent Second Amendment right to carry without having a license,” he said.

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  1. “ One key question, if licenses are abolished, is what the state would do, if anything, to try to prevent convicted felons and people with mental illness from carrying handguns outside.”

    Pretty easy- lock them up for long stretches if they are caught and convicted of breaking the law. It used to do the trick and made damn sure it didn’t happen again.

    • “Convicted felons” and “Mental Illness” people will do as they please with or without the law. The new law only gives honest citizens the right they were granted via the 2nd amendment.

      The left does not care until constitutional carry is brought up. And then they scream to high heaven!

  2. Camp is not and has never been the problem. The problem is the very corrupt Republican Speaker of the Georgia House, David Ralston. He has been and will continue to be a problem. He has stood in the way of campus carry which we finally got in n spite of him, and he currently is an impediment to true universal Constitutional Carry.

  3. “Kemp said Wednesday he will push for a new state law that would loosen requirements to carry a handgun”

    Suuuuure he will. Right until 2min after the polls close.

  4. What a biased, anti-gun article. Just look at the language: “The move drew condemnation from gun safety advocates…”

    They’re not “gun safety” advocates, they’re criminal-empowerment advocates and Constitutional-rights-infringement advocates. You might even call them Constitution-burning advocates, pro-carjacking advocates, pro-rape advocates, pro-mugging advocates, pro-murder advocates, pro-robbery advocates, etc.

    • “What a biased, anti-gun article.”

      Of course. What else would you expect from the ASSociated Press? (Hint: that’s who employs the two dweebs that wrote the article…)

  5. When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

    I think I’d trust the guy about as far as I could throw him. That ain’t much.

  6. The best way to deal with this Republican governor is for someone to ask him at every public forum, “why have you lied to us about supporting the Second Amendment”?
    “And why should we trust you to support civil rights?”

    It is unfortunate but this white Georgia Republican governor seems to not understand that the Second Amendment is a civil right. If you really want to frighten this guy into doing the right thing? Tell him to his face that the Second Amendment is a civil right and he had better start supporting civil rights.

    That does get the attention of most white Southern Democrats. Or white Southern Republicans.

  7. Republicans will do anything to get re-elected as they are the lowest forms of humanity. Letting people carry guns without safe gun handling training and training in the laws of the State as to when you can and cannot shoot is only common sense but when did a Republican every have any common sense. The Republicans would gladly step over hundreds of dead bodies on their way to work as long as it got them reelected as losses can never be to high and life is considered cheap in Capitalvania.

  8. Democrats will do anything to get re-elected as they are the lowest forms of humanity. Letting people (criminals, felons, ne’er do wells) carry guns without safe gun handling training and training in the laws of the State as to when you can and cannot shoot is only common sense but when did a democrat every [sic] have any common sense. The democrats would gladly step over hundreds of dead bodies on their way to work as long as it got them reelected as losses can never be to high and life is considered cheap in Capitalvania.

    • Plagiarism is the greatest form of flattery, not to mention you were so damn stupid you could not construct a response in your own words and thoughts.

      • That is called ‘parody,’ and not ‘plagiarism.’ Had he copied you, virtually or literally word for word, without attribution, THAT would be ‘plagiarism.’ What he did, here, was to turn your stupidity back against you by making your ridiculous statement into a parody, imitating your bombastic style and inane, trite phraseology.

        Please do not use big words in public unless you actually understand them, you Royal Bengal Jackass.

        • to John in the hills of AK

          quote————–Had he copied you, virtually or literally word for word, ————quote

          Have a 4th grader read my post to you. He copyed it word for word that is exactly what he did. Albeit a couple of words at the end. Its not rocket science Einstein. Try another pathetic insult Dotard.

  9. There is no excuse for reelecting any Republican who has the power to enact constitutional carry and doesn’t make it a priority from day one. Republicans ALL talk a good game, then make up all kinds of excuses as to why they didn’t get it done. There isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between nearly all Republican incumbents, and there are thousands of people in each of their districts who would vote at least as conservatively and who would strive to protect our rights, instead of conspiring with all their friends in the Fraternity of Elected Officials against Joe Citizen.

    • Bruce Bradley is correct. Talk is cheap and excuses are, just that, excuses. They are good at talking the talk but are crippled when it comes to walking the walk.

  10. Firearm safety should be required to be taught to every school age kid each year until they are 18.

    • That is true but it is not taught in schools so it comes right back to my original statement of letting people carry guns without safety training and training in the laws of the state when you can and cannot shoot is just plain Republican stupidity the only thing they have ever excelled at.

  11. i wonder
    how many states are going to pass permitless carry this year
    that “voted for biden” just 14 months ago

  12. Kemp is only interested because he’s being primaried. Didn’t do squat when he had the chance to do it on his own. Empty promises, but Georgia went for two D senators in exchange for a $2K economic incentive promise from Biden. GA has been bought before and will be again.

  13. Establishment Republicans hate the proles. That much is blindingly obvious at this point. It’s been kinda obvious for a long time but these days even Stevie Wonder sees the light.

    To them you are both cattle and chattel. These people give exactly no fucks about you, the law, the Constitution or much of anything else.

    Which is exactly why they demonize certain people. Look at Marjorie Taylor Greene. Whatever else you might think about her she’s actually a pretty normal person and her stance on guns is essentially “disband the ATF”. She’s also signalled openness towards full NFA repeal once she studies the actual legislation more. She even, *gasp* believes that people not yet convicted over that 1/6 nonsense have these things called “rights”. Fuckin’ novel, amirite? What’s next, she’s gonna declare that water is wet and the sun rises in the East? Earth shattering shit here, folks.

    Her interview on the Timcast IRL podcast (1/5/21, below) should be required material for most Americans since she basically gives you a civics class on how Congress works which, so far as I can tell, most lawyers and pundits know exactly fuck-all about.

    It’s time for the Right to admit a few things.

    Things like that the Party cares not a whit about you, most pols are sub-70 IQ hucksters, Righty pundits are mostly also charlatans, grifters and liars, most pols of any stripe support fascism in one form or another, most Conservatives are not much different than the people they elect and that in all likelihood you are NOT going to vote your way out of this problem because a huge part of it resides in the administrative state and with the ignorance and complacency of the GOP electorate.

    The only reason the GOP actually exists at this point is because the other side is so much worse. But make no mistake, both sides want your freedom and your money. At best you’re a taxslave to these people.

  14. Wow. Thank you sir. And Happy New Year. I had to work and missed Tim’s show. I didn’t know Green was on his program.
    I’m sure he will get lots of hate mail.

    • A Happy New Year to you as well, Sir.

      Poole gets hate mail constantly. It’s the nature of what he does. He seems to relish that fight. His theories on “culture jamming” are something the Right should pay more attention to IMHO.

      This is also why he points out that the both the Right and more freedom minded people in general have a tendency to engage with opposition where the Left tends to immediately go to screaming slurs and threats because the Left has no interest in engagement but rather prefers to dictate everything to everyone.

      • “prefers to dictate everything to everyone”

        That’s a good way to put it. I always thought it was because their positions were usually illogical and indefensible, so it’s easier to just call their opponent a Nazi and change the subject. Not engaging with people is a form of disrespect. The Left doesn’t respect the people of the this country enough to win them over with their ideas. Hiding Biden during the campaign (and even now) is a form of disrespect. Not going on the one large alternative news network for an interview is a form of disrespect.

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