By: Robert Davis
Lifelong gun rights advocates U.S. Sen. Sonny Perdue (R-Ga) and Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp are the latest set of legislators in traditionally Republican-controlled states to enter the limelight as President Donald Trump voices his support for federal red flag law legislation.
Some gun rights advocates are worried the trend is driven by President Trump’s unsteady position on the Second Amendment.
“President Trump coming out in favor of ‘red flag’ laws is giving many Republicans in Washington, D.C. and state legislatures across the country the political cover they need to support this dangerous form of gun control,” Brenden Boudreau, Director of Field Operations for the National Association for Gun Rights, told Gunpowder Magazine.
Gov. Kemp told the Atlanta Journal Constitution he is “closely monitoring” the situation in Washington D.C. while representatives of his office talk with law enforcement, mental health providers, and advocacy groups. His comments riled Democrats in the state who are actively pushing the legislation at the state house.
Sen. Perdue was more noncommittal. He told the newspaper he was encouraged by the president’s leadership on a bipartisan issue.
Georgia is not the only gun-friendly state quarreling over this form of gun control. Traditionally Republican-controlled legislatures in Arizona and Utah are also coming out in support of the legislation.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called for his state to pass a red flag bill in early August, while legislators in Utah are trying to revive a version of the legislation that was defeated in 2018.
Florida, another Republican stronghold, has already passed a red flag law, much to the chagrin of gun rights advocates.
“Red flag laws are being billed as a reasonable compromise to take firearms out of the hands of dangerous people without any evidence of [mental illness], but rather, [these laws allow] for the wanton violation of Constitutional rights and further stigmatization of mental health issues,” Boudreau said.
Georgian Gun Owners Still Fighting
During the last two legislative sessions, a red flag bill failed to come to committee in Georgia, and a bill that would keep guns out of the hands of those convicted of domestic violence also failed. But that doesn’t mean the fight was easy.
Boudreau says it’s incumbent on gun rights activists in Georgia to keep the pressure on their state lawmakers.
“States that are controlled by Republicans have already passed red flag laws, while others, such as Ohio, are in midst of a fight over red flag gun confiscation orders,” Boudreau said. “Republican governors in traditionally red state likes Arizona and Utah have come out in support of red flag laws, so it is entirely in the realm of possibility for red flag to garner Republican support in Georgia.”
Robert Davis is a general assignment reporter for Gunpowder Magazine. You can contact him with tips or comments at RobertDavis0414 (at) gmail dot com.