Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has thrown his weight behind carrying firearms without a permit for personal protection without a license or permit, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC).
The AJC reported, “The Republican announced his plan Wednesday to allow more Georgians to carry concealed weapons without a state permit, framing the initiative as the fulfillment of a pledge he made during his 2018 run for governor.”
According to the Associated Press, “Kemp did not lay out specific changes he was seeking but expressed support for what gun rights advocates call ‘constitutional carry.'”
Kemp, who is running for re-election this fall, appeared at Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna, stated, “In the face of rising violent crime across the country, law-abiding citizens should have their constitutional rights protected — not undermined.”
Gun rights could become a central campaign issue in this race, because pro-gun former U.S. Senator David Perdue, also a Republican, is challenging Kemp in the primary. Likewise, anti-gun Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is also running, wants stricter gun laws in the Peach State.
If Georgia passes permitless carry, it will join 21 other states where that is now the law.
Critics are already calling such legislation “dangerous” and “extreme.” Anti-gunners predicted that licensed concealed carry would result in more violence, especially after then-Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation allowing licensed concealed carry in bars and some government buildings in 2014.
However, according to FBI Uniform Crime Reports from 2015 show the number of murders has actually declined, from 646 that year, including 522 with guns, to 445 including 367 involving guns in 2019. Last year, Georgia ‘s murders went up along with the national pattern.
But according to the Georgia Virtue, Kemp says adopting permitless carry will contribute to public safety.
“Building a safer, stronger Georgia starts with hardworking Georgians having the ability to protect themselves and their families,” Kemp reportedly stated. “In the face of rising violent crime across the country, law-abiding citizens should have their constitutional rights protected, not undermined.”
Proponents of “constitutional carry” contend they should not be required to obtain a permit to exercise a constitutionally-protected fundamental right to bear arms.
Last year, the AJC reported, Republican State Sen. Jason Anavitarte sponsored a permitless carry bill. He told the newspaper, “We don’t believe Georgians should need a permit to exercise their Second Amendment rights…There’s no reason why we can’t get this done this year.”
That’s why the issue could become central to the gubernatorial campaign.