GA Democrats gun control hopes hinge on GOP support

Image by Brett_Hondow from Pixabay

Georgia was a very red state for a very long time. Then we ended up with two Democrats in the Senate, which almost shattered that forever. Had it not been for Gov. Brian Kemp retaining the governor’s office, we’d be a blue state today.


Now, Democrats think they can and should get gun control passed.

As the Washington Times, notes, that can’t happen without Republican support.

“The urgency of Georgia’s gun violence epidemic warrants an equally urgent response,” said House Minority Leader James Beverly, a Macon Democrat. “Lives will be lost every day that Georgia leaders – Republicans – fail to lead. We say lead, don’t hide. The time is now.”

Democrats highlight three issues. They want background checks for all gun purchases, including private sales. They want to require gun owners to lock up their guns at home. And they want courts to be able to temporarily take away guns from people who are a danger to themselves or others.

But there’s no sign that GOP Gov. Brian Kemp or the Republicans who head the party’s majorities in the state House and Senate are preparing any legislative response ahead of 2024, when all state lawmakers will be up for reelection. Spokespersons for Kemp and House Speaker Jon Burns both declined comment Wednesday. A spokesperson for Lt. Gov. Burt Jones did not respond to questions.

Kemp won his party’s primary in 2018 while brandishing a gun in televised ads. In 2022 as he faced a primary challenger, Kemp pushed through a law allowing Georgians to carry guns in public without a permit.

And while Democrats point to polling showing the public is on their side, Kemp won reelection handily, carrying along a statewide slate of GOP officials. Republicans entrenched their legislative majorities through redistricting, with few Republicans facing serious Democratic challenges


What Georgia Democrats are missing is that while many may support these measures in general–and the polling is more than a little misleading on these topics–these polls don’t tell them anything about how strongly people support them.

That’s actually important because, for Republican lawmakers, they know they’ll take a beating from gun rights advocates if they side with Democrats on guns but if it won’t actually win them any votes elsewhere, then there’s no reason for them to go down that hole.

Take constitutional carry, which the Washington Times piece mentions.

Polling after its passage suggested it was unpopular as hell with the voters as a whole. That would suggest that it should have hurt Kemp in the general election. Since his previous match-up with Stacey Abrams gave him only a 1.4-point edge and in the second election he beat her by more than seven points, I’d say that if it did hurt him, Abrams was lucky it did, or else the beating might have been far, far worse.

I get that Georgia Democrats are latching onto Atlanta to try and push gun control, but there’s just not any reason for Republicans to sign on.


Especially when we all know that these three measures won’t be the end of things. It’ll just be the beginning.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member