Today, Georgia legislators and advocates, including a former law enforcement officer and Georgia mom, held a press conference calling out Republicans’ extreme permit-less carry bill being pushed by Brian Kemp and David Perdue. Following the legislation’s passage in the State House last week, speakers called out the dangerous initiative’s threat to public safety and the brazen political pandering of Kemp and Perdue during the GOP gubernatorial primary.
Download footage from the press conference here, and see quotes from speakers below.
“Both Kemp and Perdue support this extreme permit-less carry legislation, which will actually make it easier for criminals to get their hands on guns,” shared State Senator Elena Parent. “While Brian Kemp, David Perdue, and Georgia Republicans talk a big game on tackling violent crime, this extreme and dangerous legislation they’re backing will result in more guns on our streets and more gun violence in our communities. This is just a brazen political ploy by Brian Kemp, who’s sadly willing to risk lives to shore up support for his re-election campaign. It is shameful – no re-election campaign is worth endangering Georgians’ lives.”
“The data shows it clearly — this is a dangerous proposal that will bring more guns to our streets and more gun violence to our communities,” said State Representative Yasmin Neal, a former Clayton County police officer and detective. “Georgia already has the 17th highest rate of gun deaths in the nation – we cannot afford to weaken gun safety laws. Now, as a former police officer and detective, I know firsthand the threats our officers face on a daily basis, and I can tell you from experience, this legislation will only increase that danger. Over 5,000 people were denied carry permits in this state last year — we need to keep citizens and law enforcement safe from those types of people.”
“This session, lawmakers are actively working to dismantle Georgia’s permitting system, and they are doing so over the objections of the 70% of Georgia voters, including a majority of Republicans, who oppose this dangerous policy. And the fact that this is happening in an election year makes it painfully obvious: Governor Kemp and Senator Perdue are in a race to the bottom, trying to curry favor with the most extreme parts of their base,” Elaine DeSimone, a Georgia parent and Moms Demand Action gun violence prevention advocate, said. “I’m a mother, and it terrifies me to think that children in our state are growing up in an environment where lawmakers put power over people — it terrifies me to think that our children could be less safe because these lawmakers are playing politics with their lives.”
BACKGROUND ON PERMIT-LESS CARRY:
New Loophole: The extreme permit-less carry bill would create a new loophole by eliminating part of the background check process which anyone wanting to carry a concealed firearm currently must undergo. The existing permit process prevented over 5,200 applicants from obtaining firearm carry licenses in 2020 — the majority of those denials were due to prior criminal records, outstanding arrests, mental health flags, or domestic violence charges. This legislation’s change could allow individuals with a criminal history who purchased a gun through a private sale to now legally carry a weapon in our communities.
Proven Danger: States that have passed permit-less carry laws saw spikes in aggravated assaults with a gun up to 65%, while states that weakened their firearm permitting system saw up to a 15% increase in violent crime. Georgia already has the 17th highest rate of gun deaths in the nation and its rate of gun deaths increased 20% from 2009 to 2018.
Majority Opposition: About 70% of Georgians are opposed to permit-less carry. Over 80% of gun owners, non-gun owners, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents across the nation agree that high safety standards are crucial in issuing concealed carry permits: