Georgia Democrats target Kemp’s ‘criminal carry’ gun law

AJC file

AJC file

A scathing Democratic ad launched Tuesday that targets Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan to rollback gun restrictions offers a reminder that what could help the Republican in the GOP primary could haunt him in a potential November rematch against Stacey Abrams.

The Democratic Party of Georgia’s ad – its first TV spot of the 2022 cycle – features a former patrol officer warning of the consequences of Kemp-backed legislation that would allow Georgians to carry concealed handguns without first getting a license from the state.

The measure, which Kemp is certain to sign within weeks, is known to the governor and other supporters as “constitutional carry.” In the 30-second ad, the narrator refers to it as “criminal carry,“ a phrase Abrams has also used.

“Brian Kemp may talk tough, but he’d make us less safe. Because the last place we need more criminals with guns is here,” the former officer says, as the camera pans to a yellow bus unloading students at a school.

Facing a crowded GOP primary in 2018, Kemp tried to stand out by pledging to expand gun rights and airing an ad that showed him pointing a shotgun toward a nervous-looking teenage actor playing one of his daughter’s boyfriends.

An image of that provocative “Jake” ad flashes briefly on screen during the Democratic spot, signaling that Abrams and her allies plan to emphasize the GOP support for the legislation even if her campaign has so far primarily focused on her pledge to expand Medicaid.

But Kemp’s first hurdle involves staving off David Perdue, a former U.S. senator who is backed by Donald Trump. Just days after he announced his May 24 GOP primary challenge, Perdue tried to outflank Kemp by promising to be the greater champion for gun rights than the incumbent governor.