Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D.) made a questionable claim about gun policy on Tuesday.
During a radio interview, Abrams was asked about “Constitutional carry.” She argued the country is “in the midst of a public safety crisis,” and removing the permit requirement for concealed gun-carry would make things worse. She suggested the policy would make it easier for criminals and the mentally ill to carry guns.
“It is not simply about the crimes being committed; it’s about how safe we are in our own communities,” Abrams told MalaniKai Massey of Word on the Street’s She Talk on 95.5 WSB in Atlanta, Georgia. “Why we would make it easier for people who have felonies, who have mental illnesses, who have demonstrated a lack of responsibility… why would we make it easier for them to carry weapons? Why would we make it easier for our communities to be put in harm’s way?”
However, removing the state’s permit requirement for concealed carry would not make it legal for felons or those adjudicated mentally ill to carry guns. Federal and state law makes it illegal for prohibited persons, including felons and the mentally ill, to even possess firearms. “Constitutional carry,” otherwise known as permitless carry, only allows those who are legally allowed to own guns to carry them.
Georgia gun-rights advocates decried the comments as misleading.
“Under federal law, those folks can not buy a gun…..much less carry one,” the group Georgia 2nd Amendment said on Twitter. “To say so is to spread misinformation and fear.”
The Abrams campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Her comments come after incumbent governor Brian Kemp (R.), who beat Abrams in the 2018 election, endorsed the policy. He has also committed to helping shepherd the policy through the Republican-controlled legislature.
“Building a safer, stronger Georgia starts with hardworking Georgians having the ability to protect themselves and their families,” Kemp said earlier this month. “In the face of rising violent crime across the country, law-abiding citizens should have their constitutional rights protected.”
His primary opponent, former Senator David Perdue (R.), has also backed the policy.
With Republicans increasingly adopting the policy and Democrats continuing to strongly oppose it, the outcome of the Georgia gubernatorial election will provide insight into how voters view permitless carry.
The general election will be held on November 8th.