OPINION: How to loosen gun laws after a mass shooting

OPINION: How to loosen gun laws after a mass shooting

About two miles from the state Capitol Wednesday, a 22-year-old man was stopped at a Publix grocery store in Atlanta carrying four pistols, two long guns, loads of ammunition, and a complement of body armor. A week before that, a 21-year-old Cherokee County man murdered eight Georgians, including six Asian women, at massage spas in Metro Atlanta. So the timing of House Bill 218 , a measure now moving through the Georgia Legislature to loosen gun restrictions, not tighten them, would seem strange at best. But with three days left until the end of the legislative session, and GOP primary opponents already announcing who they’ll challenge in the 2022 elections, the timing of HB 218 makes perfect sense, at least for Republicans in the Capitol. The first thing to understand about why a gun rights bill would power through the Legislature, even after a mass shooting, are the pure politics involved, especially for Gov. Brian Kemp. Kemp won the GOP primary in 2018 after casting himself as so pro-gun that he would star in an ad pointing a gun at an actor playing a potential suitor for one of his daughters. The governor also supported “constitutional carry,” which would let gun owners conceal and carry handguns without a permit, and picked the National Rifle Association over Delta Air Lines in a squabble between the two. Heading into the 2022 election cycle, it’s no secret that Kemp is on the outs with a large swath of the Donald Trump-loving GOP […]

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