Gun law changes affect more than just gun owners


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Teens protest gun reform outside the White House after the Parkland shooting. Brian Kemp’s conceal carry bill backtracks everything that has been fought for even after prevalent gun reform for years.

Katie Sigal

Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has signed SB319, a bill making it legal to to carry a concealed firearm in public without a license. The bill removed the background check that was required for a concealed carry permit, now making it legal for anyone who owns a gun to bring it into a public area. This unsafe gun law affects more than just gun owners.

CBS News reported that 49 percent of Georgia adults live in homes with guns. If you are convicted of a felony or struggle with mental health issues, you are not allowed to own a gun; however, these restrictions will not prevent a gun from falling into the wrong hands. Why? And also, why is this dangerous?

In 2021, eight people were killed in a mass shooting spree at three Atlanta-area spas. The perpetrator purchased a handgun just hours before the shooting and easily passed the shockingly simple background check, leaving immediately after with a gun in hand, as Georgia has no waiting period for gun purchases. The previous background checks likely only stopped a slim amount of people from purchasing guns. Now, without background checks at all, it not only makes it easier to carry a gun, but also makes it effortless to carry a gun for the wrong reasons, which would make it easier for more mass shootings.

As a result, in-depth background checks and waiting periods after purchases of firearms are necessary to keep guns from being used for the wrong reasons. However, public safety isn’t the only thing at risk because of the new law, the state economy is at risk, as well. 

On Aug. 1 Music Midtown, a two-day music festival held in Piedmont Park in September, announced its  cancellation this year due to “circumstances beyond our control.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the cancellation was due to “ongoing legal fallout of a permissive gun expansion.” 

In a nutshell, Music Midtown was canceled because concert security can’t legally restrict concealed guns from being brought into the park, which is too much of a safety risk. The cancellation of Music Midtown this year will bring economic loss to not only the city of Atlanta, but to the state as a whole. The festival brought thousands of people to the city, which allowed Atlanta to benefit from the tourism and publicity of the event. Rolling Stone reports that in 2021, Music Midtown brought 50,000 people to the park. It will have an economic impact on surrounding businesses, like hotels and restaurants. It also brought hundreds of jobs to the area. 

The cancellation of Music Midtown and its economic impact has brought attention to former Georgia Rep. Stacey Abrams. In the 2022 election for Georgia governor, incumbent Kemp will run against Democrat Abrams. Abrams has spoken out against the recent expansions of gun access and plans to back-roll them if elected, including the 2017 bill Kemp signed allowing concealed carry on Georgia college campuses and the permit-less bill signed in April. 

Abrams also has made it clear she respects the right to bear arms, but also believes in restrictions on who can possess firearms.Abrams plans to help the gun control crisis in Georgia because she will not only protect the rights of those who want to legally possess arms, but will also help the state in terms of gun safety.

Midtown remains a gun-free zone, with all weapons banned within campus lines, regardless of any state-issued bill. The federal law banning guns from schools supersedes Kemp’s bill regarding concealed carry on public property. However, this isn’t enough to keep students safe as loose gun regulations affect them the second they step off campus. What is needed is tighter laws, stronger background checks and much, much more regulation. The clearest path to this is voting against gun expansion this November.