Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is looking to tighten Georgia gun laws and resurrect a bipartisan criminal justice reform task force within her public safety plan, as ABC News notes. Specifically, Abrams is looking to reverse a set of 2014 laws that have allowed more leeway for who can carry guns and where they can take them. Another proposal would be to “intervene in schools and with families to prevent violence and expand job training and opportunities.”
The recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Texas have brought the conversation of gun safety to the national stage yet again. Georgia lawmakers expanded places where guns can be carried to bars, churches, and even up to the security checkpoint at the airport, as the Associated Press points out. College campuses were added to that list in 2017. This year, Gov. Kemp and the Republican-controlled legislative body passed a law that did away with needing a license to carry a firearm in public.
Abrams is looking to propose universal background checks for private gun sales and red flag legislation to remove guns from people temporarily deemed dangerous to themselves and others. The Senate is currently discussing a gun safety package that includes red flag laws also. Even some Republican voters in Georgia felt that Gov. Kemp went too far in eliminating the background check requirement as a check for open carry.
“It was not a tremendously popular idea even among Republican voters,” Bullock said. “Arguably the legislature was listening only to the hardest of hardcore Republicans, and not where the average Republicans were on some of those issues.”
The gubernatorial hopeful wants to convert some low-level traffic and drug crimes into civil offenses and enact a “clean slate” initiative that would “automatically clear criminal records if someone doesn’t re-offend in a set period.”
Even if Abrams is elected as governor, the Republican-controlled House and Senate will push back on any changes to the laws already on the books. “The people who believe in their rights are going to believe in their rights, regardless,” said Jerry Henry, executive director of the Georgia gun-rights group GA2A.