This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, January 6, 2022:
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced his support for constitutional-carry legislation on Wednesday. The announcement was made at Adventure Outdoors, which touts itself as the “World’s Largest Gun Store” in Smyrna, outside Atlanta. Kemp was joined by other Republicans supporting the move.
Constitutional carry refers to the carrying of a handgun, either openly or concealed, without requiring its owner first to obtain government permission, through a license or a permit, to do so.
And while this position has recently become popular for [22 other states] as we enter the campaign season, my position has remained the same: I believe the United States Constitution grants the citizens of our state the right to carry a firearm without state government approval.
According to Georgia’s constitution, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have the power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne.”
State Senator Jeff Mullis plans to introduce just such legislation next week, and other legislators are preparing similar bills. Both chambers of the General Assembly, along with the governor’s office, the secretary of state, and the state’s attorney general are in Republican hands. So, if Mullis’ bill, or one like it, is passed by the General Assembly, Kemp will sign it into law.
However, Kemp’s commitment to protecting the right of Georgians to carry according to the Second Amendment has wavered in the past. The Associated Press noted that Kemp failed to mention the issue in his 2019, 2020, or 2021 State of the State speeches “when governors urge their top priorities on lawmakers.”
Kemp is arguably more interested in retaining his position as governor. He is up for reelection this November, and he has some serious competition, including former Senator David Perdue, whom Donald Trump has endorsed instead of Kemp.
Kemp got sideways with the former president over the November 2020 presidential election results. Trump believed there was significant fraud in the election process in the state, giving Biden a razor-thin victory with just a one-quarter of one percent margin — less than 12,000 votes out of nearly five million that were cast — over Trump.
When the former president called Kemp for help, whom he had previously endorsed for the governorship, his plea was ignored.
Trump recalled that conversation with Kemp:
You know you have a big election integrity problem in Georgia. I hope you can help us out and call a special election and let’s get to the bottom of it for the good of the country, for the good of the state of Georgia.
Kemp instead ratified the election results, and Trump retaliated. In a telephone interview with Fox News days after the controversial election, Trump said,
Everything [in Georgia] has to be approved by the legislature, and they had judges making deals, and they had electoral officials making deals, like this character in Georgia [Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger] who’s a disaster.
And the governor’s done nothing. I’m ashamed that I endorsed him. But I look at what’s going on, it’s so terrible.
Now Trump has endorsed Perdue in his race against Kemp for the governorship and his endorsement has, according to a recent poll, pushed Perdue into a dead heat with Kemp.
In another poll taken among Georgians, Trump’s favorable/unfavorable image is 84 percent-10 percent, Perdue’s is 79 percent-nine percent, while Kemp’s is just 68 percent-22 percent. In that same poll, 78 percent of Republican voters in the state believe that “significant fraud occurred in the 2020 election” and just 31 percent “believe Kemp did enough to prevent voter fraud in the election.”
While Kemp’s move to free Georgians from state demands that gun owners first obtain government permission to exercise their Second Amendment-guaranteed rights is applauded, his motives for doing so, even before the General Assembly has passed anything for him to sign, must be questioned.