Hashim Nzinga, national chairman of the New Black Panther Party, knows that people are talking about those pictures of members campaigning for Stacey Abrams while carrying long guns. The photos and a video went viral, especially after Republican Brian Kemp shared them on social media on Sunday morning and said they proved that Abrams is too radical for Georgia.
And Nzinga understands it may look weird for an organization like his, which encourages members to arm themselves and carry weapons openly, to support a candidate who has advocated for gun control.
But that is exactly what happened, he said. Those pictures were taken in Southwest Atlanta and reflect the New Black Panthers exercising their right to participate in the political process, he said.
“We were doing what everybody is doing in November,” Nzinga said. “We were campaigning for the candidate that we feel is best to represent our community. And the pictures were taken where we work the best: in our community.”
Georgia law allows people to carry around long guns, like rifles or shotguns. No permit is needed.
Members decided to support Abrams after reading her platform, he said. Plus they believe Kemp’s alliance with President Donald Trump makes him an unacceptable candidate.
But that doesn’t mean they agree with Abrams on everything, especially the firearm issue.
“Even when she is going against gun laws, which is a foundation of the Panther Party, we still think she is a better candidate that this Trump sympathizer who is openly attacking our community,” Nzinga said.