Georgia Scores Only 11.5 out of 100 for Gun Law Strength While Maintaining High Rate of Gun Deaths
Permitless Carry Legislation Threatens to Dismantle Georgia’s Last Remaining Foundational Gun Safety Law
ATLANTA, Ga. — Today, the Georgia chapter of Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, stood alongside Georgia legislators to highlight the dangers of the extreme permitless carry bill being pushed by the state’s Republican leadership. Elaine DeSimone, State Legislative Lead for Moms Demand Action in Georgia, joined State Senator Elena Parent and State Representative and former Clayton County Police Officer Yasmin Neal for a press call to condemn the politically motivated actions of state lawmakers who are advancing this dangerous, unpopular legislation during an election year.
“This session, lawmakers are actively working to dismantle Georgia’s permitting system, and they are doing so over the objections of the 70% of Georgia voters, including a majority of Republicans, who oppose this dangerous policy. The fact that this is happening in an election year makes it painfully obvious: Governor Kemp and Senator Perdue are in a race to the bottom, trying to curry favor with the most extreme parts of their base,” said Elaine DeSimone, State Legislative Lead for Moms Demand Action in Georgia. “I’m a mother and it terrifies me to think that children in our state are growing up in an environment where lawmakers put power over people — where our children could be less safe because these lawmakers are playing politics with their lives.”
“Both Kemp and Perdue support this extreme permit-less carry legislation, which will actually make it easier for criminals to get their hands on guns. Under the current law, anyone who wants to carry a concealed firearm must undergo a background check — this dangerous permit-less carry bill would create a new loophole by eliminating that requirement,” stated State Senator Elena Parent. “That means this legislation would potentially allow individuals with a criminal history who purchased a gun through a private sale to now legally carry a hidden, loaded weapon in our communities. If Kemp’s permit-less carry legislation becomes law, there will be no mechanism to prevent those denied applicants from now being able to carry a weapon in public. Neither the bill authors nor the governor have adequately addressed this issue.”
“States that have passed permit-less carry laws saw aggravated assaults with a gun spike by up to 65 percent, and states that weakened their gun permitting systems have seen a 15 percent increase in violent crime. The data shows it clearly — this is a dangerous proposal that will bring more guns to our streets and more gun violence to our communities,” said State Representative Yasmin Neal, a former Clayton County police officer and detective. “Georgia already has the 17th highest rate of gun deaths in the nation, and our rate of gun deaths increased by 20 percent from 2009 to 2018. We cannot afford to weaken gun safety laws. Our communities cannot afford it. Now, as a former police officer and detective with the Clayton County Police Department, I know firsthand the threats our officers face on a daily basis — and I can tell you from experience, this legislation will only increase that danger.”
States that have weakened their firearm permitting system have experienced an 11 percent increase in handgun homicide rates and a 13–15 percent increase in violent crime rates. Most people agree that those carrying concealed guns in public should go through a background check in order to do so. According to a recent poll from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, 70% of Georgia voters, including a majority of Republicans, oppose this dangerous policy. Permitless carry legislation has always been staunchly opposed by law enforcement across the country. More information about the dangers of permitless carry is available here.
Georgia has some of the weakest gun safety laws in the country, scoring only 11.5 out of 100 for gun law strength while maintaining a gun violence rate well above the national average. In an average year, more than 6,000 Georgians are already shot and killed or wounded. The permitting system is Georgia’s last remaining foundational gun safety law, and removing it could open the floodgates to even more gun violence. More information about gun violence in Georgia is available here.
Watch the full press call here.