What changes in gun policy are really likely after the election?


The future of gun policy is a big deal for some on both sides of the Georgia gubernatorial race, but what changes in gun laws are really likely after the election?

Republican candidate Brian Kemp started his campaign with an ad that garnered national attention, appearing to point a shotgun at a teenage boy.

But since the primaries, Kemp has talked less about guns. Usually what it says comes down to the following:

“I hunt, I shoot, I carry. I can’t tell you how many times I said that during the election campaign, ”Kemp said at this year’s convention for gun advocacy group Georgia Carry.

One of Kemp’s main lines of attack against Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams has been his support for a 2016 bill that would have banned “certain assault weapons”.

“But it was a bill that was never going to be heard anyway,” said Georgia Carry executive director Jerry Henry.

Henry is keeping a close eye on what the group sees as real threats to gun rights. He said the ban on attempted assault weapons had never been that.

And in fact, Henry isn’t that concerned with Abrams and the guns as a whole, because no matter how the governor’s race goes, Republicans control the Georgia state legislature.

“If the makeup of the House and the Senate remains as it is, then I don’t think we have to worry about its passing gun laws,” Henry said.

On the flip side, he says, Abrams probably won’t sign any of their sponsored invoices either.

From a gun rights perspective, Georgia has had some great victories over the past decade. This includes a set of changes so vast it has been dubbed “Guns Everywhere” and the ability for students to carry guns on college campuses.

Much of what remains on the agenda of gun rights groups like Georgia Carry is to expand or clean up the laws already in place.

“This is not a hill to die on for gun rights,” Henry said. “It is a hill for the future of Georgia. We don’t need Georgia to be another California.

Culture and a list of other pressing political issues like health care are at the heart of the issues for conservative gun owners like Henry.

But election observers noted that Abrams is part of a wave of Georgian Democratic candidates breaking again with gun groups and openly campaigning on gun control measures.

Unlike Kemp, whose campaign website makes almost no mention of gun or firearm policy, Abrams has a long list of proposals that include strengthening background checks and supporting victims of domestic violence.

Her outspokenness has made her a daily social media target for groups like Georgia Gun Owners, which calls itself the state’s “only uncompromising gun rights organization”.

Georgia Democratic State Senator Elena Parent has been trying to push through gun control laws for years. When recently soliciting a group of gun safety activists, Parent was hopeful about a tool Abrams would have as governor.

“She is able to veto any further weakening of our gun laws which allow more dangerous weapons in more places and more often,” she said.

Asked about the chances of Abrams’ campaign pledge to repeal the campus postponement, she said, “Uh, you know, we’ll see.”

Parent said it’s not outside the realm of possibility – it just wouldn’t be easy.

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