In Georgia, Democrat Stacey Abrams and incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp will battle for the one of most closely watched midterm governor races. Following the Texas elementary school shooting, voters will ask questions of Kemp, as he passed a law that allows a loaded gun to be carried in public without a permit.
Stacey Abrams, a longtime supporter of common-sense gun laws, is targeting her election campaign to moderate voters in a bid to halt this dangerous hard-line erosion of gun controls.
The Uvalde massacre has made gun violence a key issue for both the Republicans and Democrats in Georgia and Washington.
We analyze whether the grief of the US will translate into a vote for gun safety in the upcoming elections.
Gun Violence – Opposing Views
The ever-present cycle of US gun violence took its latest deadly toll at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were shot and murdered with an automatic assault rifle.
Joe Biden said, “When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? In response, the Republican right offered thoughts and prayers but no gun control measures.
When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?
Donald Trump was a guest speaker at the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual convention in Houston on May 27. He told the conference: “The existence of evil in our world is not a reason to disarm law-abiding citizens. The existence of evil is one of the very best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens.” He continued, “It’s time to finally allow highly trained teachers to safely and discreetly concealed carry. Let them concealed carry.”
These opposing party views on the Second Amendment reflect the long, bitter fight over guns across the US states. A subject surely to be dominant in the 2024 presidential election.
Brian Kemp – Criminal Carry
In Georgia, gun conceal carry was used as a political weapon during the midterm primary campaigns. Governor Brian Kemp introduced legislation that made it legal to carry a hidden loaded gun in public without a permit to attract conservative Republican votes.
“People don’t have to carry if they don’t want to,” the governor said. “But this is a constitutional authority that people have and they certainly shouldn’t have a piece of paper from the government to be able to legally carry a weapon.”
…certainly shouldn’t have a piece of paper from the government to be able to legally carry a weapon.
Although targeted at legitimate gun owners, the so-called “criminal carry” bill has also made it easier for individuals with a criminal history who purchased a gun through a private sale to carry a weapon in the State without any background check.
The Democrats warned against this change as the existing permit process denied over 5,200 firearm carry licenses in 2020 because of criminal records, outstanding arrests, mental health issues, or domestic violence charges. However, for Kemp, strong measures were needed to fight off a well-resourced rival primary candidate.
Criminal Carry – The Reason
Trump pursued a personal vendetta against the incumbent Governor Brian Kemp for his decision to certify the 2020 presidential election. Yet, despite his PAC dollars, and supporters, Kemp swept aside the Trump-endorsee former senator David Perdue.
Kemp’s campaign strategy was to out-Trump the former president and appeal to Republican voters with hard-line conservative policies. As Governor, he was quick to release Georgia from pandemic restrictions, limited abortions, restricted mail-in voting, rejected critical race theory, and made it legal for Georgia gun owners to carry a concealed handgun in public without a license from the state.
The Trumpian campaign won the primary conservative Republican vote. But Political bettors take note: after the massacre in Uvalde, can he carry the moderates with him into the November midterms elections?
Abrams – Criminal Carry Objector
Brian Kemp was declared the Republican nominee on May 25. The following day Stacey Abrams, the Democrat nominee, began her midterm general election campaign attack. Abrams said: “Kemp disqualified himself when he pushed a criminal carry bill that will put more guns on our streets and make us less safe. He disqualified himself when he supported a total ban on abortion with a penalty of 10 years in prison. He disqualified himself when he stopped food assistance from struggling Georgians but padded his own pockets. Years from now, Kemp will be remembered as a one-term governor… ”
…a criminal carry bill that will put more guns on our streets…
The Giffords PAC, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords – who survived a gun assassination attempt – announced its endorsement of Stacey Abrams, who throughout her political career has pressed for common-sense gun safety laws.
A good point to consider before wagering on the election is when voters cast a ballot in the midterm elections, many might believe that now is the time for a strong gun safety champion in the Georgia governor’s mansion.
Ultimately, it might be the statistics that sway voters on how to cast their ballot in 2022, as 70% of Georgians are opposed to permitless gun carry. In states that have weakened firearm permitting there was up to a 15% increase in violent crime, and an 11% increase in handgun homicide rates.
Georgia Gun Crime Stats
- 81% of all homicides involve a gun – compared to 75% nationwide
- An average of 665 people die by gun homicides every year
- 1,534 are wounded by gun assaults – a rate of 6.5 homicides and 14.7 assaults per 100,000 people annually
Uvalde – The Grief
When Joe Biden visited the scene of the massacre, grieving parents pleaded with him to “do something,” he replied by saying “We will.” However, as previous shootings have shown it remains unclear how grief translates into political action given Republican intransigence. Many are now demanding restrictions on the AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle used in the Texas massacre. This civilian version of a military weapon is designed to kill people quickly and in large numbers. However, banning such weapons would be difficult as The National Shooting Sports Foundation has estimated that approximately 5 million to 10 million AR-15 style rifles exist in the US.
For political bettors wagering on Biden, electoral success in the midterm elections could give him the power to deliver on his promise to protect the children of Uvalde, and take him one step closer to reelection in 2024.
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