WABE's Week In Review: Guns, school lunches and voting rights

Handguns sit in a glass display case in Bridgeton, Mo.

Handguns sit in a glass display case in Bridgeton, Mo.

Jeff Roberson / AP

Georgians can now carry a concealed firearm without a permit. Governor Brian Kemp signed the Constitutional Carry Act on Tuesday.

Supporters called it a move that allows citizens to further protect themselves, but Democrats like state Sen. Donzella James say more than 5,000 permits were rejected in 2020 for reasons such as criminal convictions and mental health issues.

“With Governor Kemp’s signature on this bill, individuals similar to those who may have been flagged from the permitting process will carry guns in our communities,” said James.

Kemp called the criticisms “partisan politics” and says more than two dozen other states have passed similar measures.

“They are trying to pivot from other issues in the country right now because of bad policies in Washington that have driven a 40-year high in inflation, well before the war in Ukraine,” Kemp said.

But Kemp’s chief rival for the Republican nomination for governor called the signing a political play.

“It’s too bad it took four years to get it down, and it’s too bad it took me getting into the race them get them to get the energy to get that done,” said former U.S. Sen. David Perdue of Georgia. “But I am glad it is getting done.”

“We have been in the fight on all of these issues for a long time,” said Kemp, who made national headlines in 2018 when he aired a campaign ad featuring himself toting a gun at a stammering man trying to date one of his daughters. “But you also gotta have the votes. So he [Perdue] is going to say those things but that is all he has to say.”

The new law does not change where a weapon can and can not be carried. It takes effect immediately.

For more on the Constitutional Carry Act and how it could play into the upcoming elections, check out our Georgia Votes 2022 podcast.

Also in this episode…

—Martha Dalton has more on how a federal school meal program is set to expire on June 30. If Congress doesn’t extend the plan, more than a million Georgia students could be left without a safety net.

—Emily Wu Pearson has more on the National Urban League’s State of Black America.

—Emil Moffatt looks at how startups in Atlanta’s tech sector are performing.