Last week marked a deadly week for children in Georgia. On Sunday, an Atlanta softball game turned deadly when an argument escalated to gunfire that killed two people and left four others wounded, including a six-year old boy. Around the same time that evening, a 4-year-old girl unintentionally shot and killed herself after finding her mother’s gun in the car. Just days before that, a three year-old was shot in the head when shots were fired into the car while his family was stopped at a red light. Each of the shootings will leave survivors, families, and entire communities permanently altered, and they underscore a painful reality — Georgia’s weak gun laws are costing children their lives.
Georgia’s gun violence crisis is costly in more ways than one. All three of these tragedies came just one week after news broke that Atlanta’s 2022 Music Midtown festival was being canceled due to weak gun laws that would prevent the event organizers from prohibiting guns on festival grounds. The festival is an annual highlight for the Atlanta community, as well as an attraction for people out of state and a source of revenue for the local economy — all of which now have to be forfeited, thanks to the gun lobby’s ‘guns everywhere’ agenda and state lawmakers’ sustained efforts to weaken Georgia’s gun laws over the years.
Here’s where things stand in Governor Kemp’s Georgia:
- Guns are the leading cause of death for children and teens
- Gun violence costs the state $23.9 billion annually, of which $597.8 million is paid by taxpayers
- In an average year, 1,693 people are killed by guns, and 4,321 are wounded
This past session, over the objections of gun violence survivors, gun safety advocates, and 70 percent of Georgia voters, Governor Brian Kemp signed permitless carry into law, allowing people to carry concealed guns in public with no background check and no safety training. And now, Georgia has some of the country’s weakest firearm laws. The concealed carry permit requirement was Georgia’s only remaining foundational gun safety law, and in eliminating it, Governor Kemp and state lawmakers opened the floodgates to even more gun violence.
Georgia lawmakers cannot afford to continue choosing politics over public safety. Instead of working to further weaken the state’s gun laws, they must take a cue from federal lawmakers and work across the aisle to implement common sense policies to put an end to Georgia’s gun violence crisis.
More information about gun violence in Georgia is available here.