By Larry Keane
Georgia Democratic candidate for governor Stacey Abrams is rolling out a gun control plan that includes restricting gun rights. It’s a gambit she believes state Republicans are ready to get behind.
Abrams wants to reverse course on several pro-gun measures signed into law by Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, including a repeal of the state’s Constitutional Carry law, enacting universal background checks for private firearm transfers and imposing so-called “red flag” laws that don’t protect Due Process rights. At the same time, she’s got a plan that would include a “clean slate” program that would wipe out offender criminal records if they don’t commit further crimes in a set time period.
Abrams told Axios her plan includes, “the obvious and the common-sense gun safety rules that do not infringe upon anyone’s ability to carry.”
Except that it does.
Punish the Law-Abiding
Abrams’ gun control plan centers on several measures that clearly infringe on the rights of law-abiding Georgians, not criminals that have no respect for the law. Her gun control plan would reverse course on Georgia’s Constitutional Carry law that allows for law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed firearm without requiring a payment and permission from state authorities to do so.
“SB 319 makes sure that law abiding Georgians, law abiding Georgians, including our daughters, and your family too, can protect themselves without having to have permission from your state government. The Constitution of the United States gives us that right, not the government,” said Gov. Kemp when he signed the legislation into law at a firearm retailer in Douglasville, Ga.
Abrams claims the law allows criminals and the mentally ill to carry firearms. This ignores the fact that it is already a felony for prohibited persons, including felons and those adjudicated mentally defective or those involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, to possess a firearm.
She would also reverse course on other carry laws, including a 2017 “campus carry” law and a 2014 law allowing law-abiding Georgians to carry firearms in churches, schools and bars. Topping off that plan would be her push to criminalize private firearm transfers without an FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verification.
Abrams believes that the same legislators that sent these bills to be signed into law would suddenly turn tail and support her effort to repeal them.
“During the time that ‘guns everywhere’ passed in the state legislature, there were many Republicans who knew that it was the wrong thing to do, but it was an election year,” Abrams said, according to Axios. “And I think in hindsight, there will be very much a willingness to reconsider and to strengthen our laws.”
Abrams’ tough-on-guns approach, though, doesn’t apply to those breaking the law. In fact, she doubles-down in her plan to go soft-on-crime, even while she blasts Gov. Kemp for empowering Georgians to protect themselves from criminals. Abrams told media that she’s still in favor of eliminating cash bail for some crimes, which turns criminals immediately back to the streets. She wants some low-level traffic and drug crimes to be classified as civil offenses instead of crimes. She also wants a “clean slate” law that would automatically clear criminal records if someone doesn’t re-offend in a set period of time.
Republican National Committee spokesperson Garrison Douglas derided the clean slate proposal as “felony-b-gone,” reported ABC News.
Georgia sheriffs are lining up with Gov. Kemp in condemning Abrams for her ties to groups supporting the “defund the police” movement. Over 100 sheriffs blasted Abrams for her connection to the Marguerite Casey Foundation, a Seattle-based grantmaking group that has called for the abolition of police. Abrams supported an expanded anti-police initiative from the group shortly after joining its board, according to Fox News. The Marguerite Casey Foundation has repeatedly supported defunding and abolishing police, awarded millions of dollars to academia that advocate for anti-capitalist views and abolishment of prisons, and Abrams supported the foundation’s expanded anti-police initiative “Answer the Uprising” campaign.
“Ms. Abrams actively serves on the governing board of – and has profited from – an anti-police organization which openly advocates for abolishing prisons and stripping local police departments of their funding,” the group of 102 sheriffs wrote.
Abrams’ vision for Georgia doesn’t favor those who obey the law. For them, it’s a loss of Second Amendment freedom. Her plan gives reprieve only to those who break the law.
Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.