Kemp Out of Touch on Guns, GOP Voters Support Reform
As thousands marched in Atlanta this weekend for action on gun safety and a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators released new gun violence prevention legislation, Republican voters are speaking out about the need to reform gun laws to increase public safety.
A report from 11Alive highlights how out of touch Brian Kemp’s extreme gun policy is even within his own party. As the governor defends his dangerous “criminal carry” law and ignores the growing calls for action on gun safety, Republican voters are speaking up in favor of action.
Kemp’s dangerous “criminal carry” law, which makes it easier for criminals to carry loaded, concealed guns in public without a permit or its background check, is opposed by 70% of Georgians and has already faced opposition from law enforcement and mayors. Now, members of Kemp’s own party are also backing away from Kemp’s extreme record on guns – from Republican voters to leaders like Kemp’s Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan.
Despite new polling showing strong support from Republican, Democratic, and Independent voters for more gun safety measures, Kemp continues to ignore the will of Georgians – including those in his own party – and defend his extreme gun agenda.
11Alive: GOP voters in Paulding County willing to compromise on gun laws
• Gun enthusiasts appear to be more willing to tighten gun laws than the politicians writing the laws. Republican voters said Thursday they’d like to see more compromise in gun laws.
• Here in Paulding County, pro-gun lawmakers were sent to the state capitol. But their constituents’ viewpoints are less rigid.
• “Our founding fathers had it right as far as the gun laws are concerned,” Jovan Brown, who owns a barbershop in downtown Hiram, said. He’s a gun-rights backer, mostly without restrictions. “Now age limits, I understand that,” Brown said. Currently, Georgians must be 18 to possess firearms.
• Another Republican and resident of Paulding County felt stronger about the issue “I’m a gun owner, but I’m not for assault rifles,” James Hale, a 26-year U.S. Navy veteran, said. “What are you going to use them for?” Hale added that he thinks it should be “much harder” to get a gun than a driver’s license, with “at least” a safety test requirement.
• He’s among the residents in the county who helped send Jason Anavitarte to the state senate. Anavitarte sponsored the “constitutional carry” bill enacted this year, eliminating the requirement for a state permit to carry a gun.
• Missy Marbut of Villa Rica said, “we should be allowed to carry,” but added she thinks eliminating the permit requirement is “crazy.” Marbut added she thinks the two parties “should work together” to make common-sense changes to gun laws.
• “I don’t see a problem with having the need to have a gun permit,” added Wendy Proctor, who said she also backs the second amendment but sees room for compromise on gun laws — in light of mass shootings. “I think there should be something regarding mental health. And I think there should be age restrictions,” Proctor said.
• State officials won’t take up any new gun measures in Georgia until January – after voters weigh in again in November.