Gov. Kemp to push for deregulation of firearms in Georgia

Kemp said he intends to sign legislation to allow Georgians to carry guns without obtaining a license or permit.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp
(Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday he plans to push for the expansion of gun rights in Georgia in the upcoming legislative session.

Kemp said he intends to sign legislation to allow Georgians to carry guns without obtaining a license or permit, known as constitutional carry. Twenty-one states currently give residents the liberty.

"Building a safer, stronger Georgia starts with hardworking Georgians having the ability to protect themselves and their families," Kemp said. "In the face of rising violent crime across the country, law-abiding citizens should have their constitutional rights protected, not undermined."

Georgians can purchase a firearm without a license, but a license is required to carry a weapon openly in Georgia. When concealed, a license is not required to carry a handgun in a person's home, vehicle, business, while fishing or hunting, or unloaded in a case. However, courthouses, schools and other "school safety zones" are not included.

State Democratic lawmakers slammed Kemp's proposal Wednesday, saying it will completely deregulate concealed guns, putting Georgians' lives at risk for his potential gain. They said Georgia should consider common-sense gun laws instead.

"The governor should not be taking aim at ordinary citizens' rights to feel safe in public. Unregulated weapons carry undermines the very laws we have passed in the legislature to protect Georgians, as well as our state constitution," Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler, D-Stone Mountain, said. "Gov. Kemp is clearly more focused on his re-election prospects than on the health and safety of the people in our state."

Kemp also received criticism from U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, a gun control advocate. McBath called Kemp's proposal "ridiculous" and "dangerous" in a statement.

State Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, plans to introduce the legislation next week. The measure must be approved in both chambers of the General Assembly before it can be sent to Kemp for final approval.

"Now, more than ever, law-abiding Georgians want a strong commitment to the Second Amendment and the right to protect themselves," Kemp wrote Wednesday on Facebook.