Today, ahead of Brian Kemp signing his dangerous “criminal carry” bill into law, Georgians gathered to speak out against the extreme and unpopular proposal. The legislation creates a new gun safety loophole that makes it easier for criminals to carry a hidden, loaded gun in public without a permit.
David Perdue has also claimed credit for the dangerous bill. Running on Donald Trump’s endorsement in the brutal GOP primary, Perdue told Fox News that it wasn’t until he got into the race against Kemp that the legislation was filed, adding that the initiative was “going nowhere” without his efforts. Perdue released a statement ahead of Kemp’s endorsement of the bill, noting that the governor “has failed to make it a reality within Georgia.”
Speakers discussed how the law – which 70% of Georgians oppose and law enforcement has serious concerns about – will make our communities less safe, endanger law enforcement, and increase the risk of gun violence in Georgia.
“By signing this into law, Kemp is ignoring warnings from law enforcement and actually making it easier for criminals to carry hidden, loaded guns in public. ‘Criminal carry’ puts our communities, our neighbors, our loved ones, and all Georgians, at risk,” said State Rep. Kimberly Alexander. “Kemp’s decision to fold to the pressure from Trump and Perdue is all about his own political survival — but what about the survival of gun violence victims? This year, the youngest gun violence victim was just six months old. Brian Kemp is trading lives for votes. It’s shameful the governor has stooped this low to support his re-election campaign. But what else can we expect from a typical political hack with no conviction?”
“By making ‘criminal carry’ the law of the land, Brian Kemp is effectively weakening our permitting process and our system, of accountability,” said State Rep. Roger Bruce. “It appears that our governor is feeling the pressure to bow to extremists and special interests. It’s a sad day across Georgia when our leaders care more about their political careers than ensuring our communities are safe. Georgians should take notice — if your governor prioritizes votes over our lives, it’s time we elect a new governor.”
“Now that the governor is facing a primary challenge from Trump-endorsed David Perdue, he’s fighting tooth-and-nail to win over the most extreme wing of the Republican Party — even if it means ignoring the best interests of Georgians, warnings from law enforcement, and risking the lives of his constituents,” said State Sen. Donzella James.
BACKGROUND ON “CRIMINAL CARRY”:
Opposed by Law Enforcement: “Criminal carry” has caused major concern among Georgia law enforcement, including in Savannah, Macon, and Columbus, who warn that “it would probably cause an increase in gun crimes” and put law enforcement officials in “uncharted waters.” The initiative has also faced opposition from law enforcement officers across the nation in Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
New Loophole: The extreme “criminal carry” 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. This legislation’s change will make it easier for individuals with a criminal history who purchased a gun through a private sale – which is not subject to a background check – to carry a weapon in our communities without any background check. 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.
Proven Danger: States that have 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 41% from 2011 to 2020.
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:
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