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Another Weekend of Tragedy in Georgia: Permitless Carry Threatens to Worsen the State’s Gun Violence Crisis

April 26, 2022

Recent days saw yet another tragic string of gun violence in Georgia that left at least two people dead. On Friday night, a woman was shot and killed at an East Point recording studio, according to police. And on Saturday, five teens were shot near Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. On Sunday, a man was shot and killed at Welcome All Park, just steps away from an anti-violence rally. Later that same night, a 16-year-old boy was shot and wounded at a house party in southeast Atlanta. These shootings capture only a fraction of the gun violence that touches Georgia communities on a daily basis.

Instead of addressing Georgia’s gun violence crisis, state lawmakers spent the entire legislative session ignoring gun safety advocates and actively working to dismantle the state’s already weak gun safety laws. Earlier this month, Governor Kemp signed permitless carry into law, doing away with Georgia’s concealed carry permitting requirement and opening the door to even more gun violence in the state. The law’s passage came despite polling showing that 70% of Georgia voters oppose permitless carry. Now advocates and public safety experts fear things will only get worse.

States that have weakened their firearm permitting system have experienced a 13-15 percent increase in violent crime rates and an 11 percent increase in handgun homicide rates. Following the passage of permitless carry, the state now lacks all foundational gun safety laws, putting the state’s gun law strength at only 11.5 out of 100 and leaving Georgia communities and first responders vulnerable to increased levels of violence.

In an average year, 1,693 people die by guns in the state of Georgia, and 4,492 more are wounded. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Georgia. Gun violence costs Georgia $12.0 billion each year, of which $581.3 million is paid by taxpayers. More information on gun violence in Georgia is available here.

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