The Georgia governor’s race is one of the most-watched gubernatorial elections this year, and so far incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp has enjoyed a pretty solid lead in polling, with Democrat Stacey Abrams trailing the Republican in virtually every poll that’s been conducted of the race. Just a few days ago a FOX 5/Insider Advantage poll had Kemp up by 8 points; his strongest showing in any survey dating back to January of this year. Still, Kemp is still hovering right around 50% support in most recent polls, so this particular midterm fight is far from finished.
As Abrams tries to court Georgia voters, she’s hoping to woo some of them into her camp by promising to protect the Second Amendment. Like the vast majority of Democrats who do so, however, her idea of what the Second Amendment actually protects is, uh, rather limited in its scope.
For Niki Gunter, communications leader for Moms Demand Action’s Augusta chapter, this was her first time hearing Abrams speak, and said “When she spoke, it was really powerful to hear how she supports common sense laws on gun safety.”
Abrams criticized Kemp loosening concealed carry laws, and argued for stricter legislation on open carry, increased background checks, and similar measures. But she clarified that she does not want to take away anyone’s firearms.
Earlier this year, as Georgia’s legislative session came to a close, Kemp signed permitless concealed carry of a gun into law.
“Now look, I’m from Mississippi,” Abrams said. “My grandmother taught me how to shoot a gun. It was a shotgun. She taught me two things. Number one: you don’t point it at anyone… but she also said that the person who holds that weapon is the person responsible… I know we can protect the Second Amendment and protect second graders at the exact same time.”
Abrams is correct that we can protect Second Amendment rights and second graders at the same time. The problem is that Abrams’ gun control agenda does neither. Abrams has been pushing for the establishment of a “red flag” gun seizure law as well as the repeal of permitless carry, which went into effect in the state earlier this year. That’s not enough for Abrams, however. She’s also calling for the repeal of the state’s campus carry law as well as a 2014 statute that allows most private property owners to allow for concealed carry on the premises of their business or house of worship.
It’s hard to claim with a straight face that you support the right to keep and bear arms when you’re vowing to criminalize concealed carry in many places where it’s currently allowed, but that’s Abrams’ argument heading into her campaign’s home stretch. As for protecting kids in school, while Brian Kemp has been calling for increased school security his Democratic counterpart maintains that more gun control laws aimed at legal gun owners will somehow have a trickle-down effect on violent criminals and dangerous individuals with designs for mass murder. The differing points of view were on full display back in June when both candidates addressed the Georgia School Boards Association’s annual meeting.
“We have to remain vigilant and learn how to best spot the warning signs so that we can intervene before tragedy occurs,” Kemp told hundreds of school board members from districts across the state.
Abrams talked about her opposition to Georgia’s gun laws, including the permitless carry bill passed during the recent legislative session and the so-called “guns everywhere law” enacted in 2014 when she served in the Georgia House of Representatives.
“Georgia has to have gun safety laws that let us protect the Second Amendment and protect second graders at the exact same time,” Abrams said.
Abrams (or her handlers) must be really proud of that line since they’re trotting it out at every given opportunity. But preventing law-abiding citizens from exercising the full flower of their Second Amendment rights increases the harm to everyone except those who are looking for unarmed victims to exploit, and it’s no way to ensure the safety of our kids while their in school. For that, we need a more targeted approach involving increased school security as well as criminal justice and mental health systems that can swiftly and effectively respond when a threat is identified beforehand. Preventing legal gun owners from protecting themselves and their loved ones in public takes us in the wrong direction, but that’s the path that Stacey Abrams is hoping will lead her to the governor’s mansion in November.