SMYRNA, Ga. (AP) — Facing an unusual challenge from fellow Republicans in his bid for a second term, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday he will push for a new state law that would loosen requirements to carry a handgun in public.
Kemp made the announcement at a gun shop in the Atlanta-area city of Smyrna that bills itself as the “world’s largest gun store,” where he was joined by members of the National Rifle Association and state lawmakers.
Kemp did not lay out specific changes he was seeking but expressed support for what gun rights advocates call “constitutional carry.” Multiple bills purporting to advance that idea in the state Legislature would do away with the need for a license to carry a handgun in public — either openly or concealed on one’s body. The current license requirement includes a background check.
“Building a safer, stronger Georgia starts with hardworking Georgians having the ability to protect themselves and their families,” Kemp said. “In the face of rising violent crime across the country, law-abiding citizens should have their constitutional rights protected, not undermined.”
The move drew condemnation from gun safety advocates and the campaign of Kemp’s likely Democratic opponent in this year’s governor’s race, Stacey Abrams.