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Kemp backs legislative efforts to loosen gun control

AP Photo/John Bazemore, File

  “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,” said Governor Brian Kemp at an event on Wednesday.

During an event at a gun superstore in Smyrna, Governor Brian Kemp announced on Wednesday that he plans to back new state legislation that would allow residents to carry open and concealed weapons without a license, a policy dubbed “constitutional carry” by its supporters.

Flanked by Republican lawmakers and members of the National Rifle Association, Kemp said Georgia residents have the right to protect themselves from “rising violent crime.” He promised to prioritize increased law enforcement funding and said the 2025 NRA convention will be held in Atlanta

Kemp’s announcement comes just before the start of the 2022 legislative session where several bills proposing loosened gun restrictions have already been introduced. Current law requires that Georgia residents apply for a weapons carry permit, pass a background check and pay an average $75 fee before granted permission to carry a gun publicly. Licenses are not required to simply own a gun, however.

Republican gubernatorial candidates David Purdue and Vernon Jones have criticized Kemp for not making gun legislation a top priority during his term as governor. Kemp famously campaigned on repealing state-issued weapons licenses in 2018, though he’s failed to make his promise a reality since then.

Meanwhile, many Democratic lawmakers and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams vow to continue pushing stricter gun control laws during the upcoming legislative session, some of which will show up again in the House and Senate after being filed last year.

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