The Jolt: Brian Kemp and GOP govs headlining national gun convention

News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
10/01/2018 -- Jasper, Georgia -- Georgia Republican Gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp exits his campaign bus during a campaign stop at Appalachian Gun, Pawn &Range in Jasper, Monday, October 1, 2018. Monday was the first day of Brian Kemp's weeklong bus tour where he and his campaign will visit 27 counties in 5 days. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

10/01/2018 -- Jasper, Georgia -- Georgia Republican Gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp exits his campaign bus during a campaign stop at Appalachian Gun, Pawn &Range in Jasper, Monday, October 1, 2018. Monday was the first day of Brian Kemp's weeklong bus tour where he and his campaign will visit 27 counties in 5 days. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Gov. Brian Kemp is headed to Las Vegas this week to speak at the nation’s largest annual firearms convention – and bringing his pitch for a vast overhaul of Georgia’s gun rules with him.

He’s set to speak at the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show – SHOT Show for short – to talk up the state’s growing gun industry.

The four-day event, held at the Venetian Expo and Caesars Forum, offers manufacturers the chance to display their latest wares to vendors – and allow industry types hear from friendly politicians about relaxing firearms rules.

The big draw will take place Wednesday afternoon when Kemp plans to join eight other Republican governors in a panel discussion.

He’s sure to mention the 74 firearms manufacturers in Georgia, along with recent expansions by Taurus and Remington Firearms that have quietly made Georgia one of the largest producers of guns in the nation.

Facing a tough reelection battle, Kemp has vowed to sign legislation this year that would allow more Georgians to carry concealed weapons without a permit.

Gun safety groups and Democratic critics warn that the expansion could render other firearms restrictions moot and lead to more violence.

Closer to home, pro-gun groups are holding a “constitutional carry rally” in Woodstock on Wednesday night to push for similar legislation.

State Sen. Jason Anavitarte, a chief sponsor of the measure, is scheduled to speak at the Woodstock event. So are candidates for higher office and members of the Georgia Gun Owners organization.


ICYMI: Gov. Brian Kemp’s campaign filed an ethics complaint Tuesday against David Perdue’s campaign, alleging that Perdue is getting an illegal boost from a new fundraising committee.

Our James Salzer has the details:

Under state law, political action committees and so-called “independent committees" that can raise and spend unlimited contributions are not allowed to directly coordinate their efforts with a candidate's campaign.

But Kemp officials said the website for the Georgia Values Fund asks donors to provide cellphone numbers to get Perdue campaign alerts, updates and news, and it instructs donors to mail contributions to Perdue's campaign, giving them a mailing address for where to send checks.

- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Salzer also has the latest from the Capitol and lawmakers’ plans this week to divvy up the state’s $30 billion budget.


On the eve of debate and possibly another filibuster on federal voting legislation, some of Georgia’s most prominent faith leaders have written a letter hoping to encourage Democratic holdouts to go along with the rest of the caucus in scuttling the Senate’s filibuster rules.

The AJC’s Shelia Poole writes that eight pastors have signed a letter to U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona asking the senators to explain their opposition to changing the filibuster that Republicans have used to block the bill.

Meanwhile, Politico is reporting that Senate Leader Chuck Schumer will propose the Senate implement a “talking filibuster” that would block debate on a bill only as long as opponents speak continuously on the Senate floor. But Manchin said Tuesday that he would not go along with that either.


We’ve heard from several Jolt readers asking what exactly is in the federal voting rights legislation.

It’s a good question since it has undergone significant negotiation and rewrites. As of now, the “Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act” combines elements of the original John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the original HR 1 into one large package.

Some provisions, like automatic voter registration, are already in Georgia law. Other things, like banning states from outlawing food and drink distribution to voters in line, are a direct response to Georgia law.

Among its primary components are;

  • Restores a process of pre-clearance by the Justice Department for voting law changes;
  • Bans redistricting that favors any political party;
  • Requires access to online voter registration and Election Day registration;
  • Makes election day a federal holiday;
  • Requires states to provide a minimum number of drop boxes, including a portion accessible 24 hours per day;
  • Details voter ID options to be accepted by all states;
  • Requires disclosure of “dark money” campaign donors;
  • Allows voter-directed public financing for congressional campaigns;
  • Requires the same “I approved this ad,” disclosures for online ads as we see on broadcast ads.
  • Not in the bill are an earlier proposal for nonpartisan redistricting commissions, D.C. statehood, and a number of others.

You can read the full text at


POSTED: Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens has gotten off to a busy start barely two weeks into his new job.

Our City Hall team has everything you need to know in this week’s Inside City Hall, including campaign finance reports from the mayoral runoff, an update on the mayor’s multi-pronged efforts to push back on the Buckhead City Committee, and the names filling up Dickens’ staff roster. They’re also keeping an eye on the City Council and its plans for today.


The government website where you can order four rapid COVID-19 tests to be delivered to your home free-of-charge went live yesterday, and seems to be running smoothly.

And today, the White House will announce 400 million non-surgical N95 masks will be available for pick up at retail pharmacies and federal community health centers, also free-of-charge. The masks will start to ship to thousands of sites at the end of the week for pick up starting late text week.


We told you last week that state Sen. Burt Jones has raised more than $3.75 million for his campaign for lieutenant governor, including $2 million of his own money.

Now we know what at least some of that money is going toward. Jones will go up with his first statewide t.v. ad today, powered by a six-figure buy.

The ad, which we’ve got an early copy of, is heavy on Donald Trump and the Georgia Bulldogs.


This is a first: Patrick Witt, a candidate in the GOP primary in Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, has announced an endorsement from several members of former President Donald Trump’s post-election legal team in Georgia.

Among those signing the endorsement is Cleta Mitchell, one of the attorneys who staffed Trump’s infamous call with Brad Raffensperger pressuring the secretary of state’s team, “Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.”

Also signing on is Ray Smith, a lawyer for Lin Wood’s failed attempt to overturn the Georgia election results.

Witt worked with former president’s legal team in Georgia and has put Trump’s false allegations of election fraud at the center of his own campaign. He has also called for an end to all early and absentee voting in Georgia.


In another endorsement, the Congressional Black Caucus PAC endorsed Rep. Lucy McBath in her primary challenge against Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux. The group’s chair, Rep. Gregory Meeks, highlighted her advocacy for healthcare expansion and gun control legislation.

“Our legislative priorities are not theoretical to her — she has lived them,” said Meeks.


Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has scheduled another town hall for constituents, this one in Catoosa County.

This event for her District 14 residents will be held in Ringgold next Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 6 p.m. RSVP here.


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