CLAYTON, Ga. — Gov. Brian Kemp said Georgia’s gun policies aren’t hurting business, days after Music Midtown canceled its 2022 event.
Kemp said because new businesses are taking root in Georgia, it’s a "distraction" to suggest that Georgia’s gun laws or abortion laws are making business more difficult.
At two campaign stops in north Georgia Thursday, Kemp talked up highlights from his four years in office but stayed mum on gun laws that he’s helped expand, including "constitutional carry" this year, which eliminated a gun permit requirement to carry a firearm.
It was a 2014 gun law expansion, under Gov. Nathan Deal, that’s cited for the shutdown of this year’s Music Midtown – a law that would have forced the event to allow guns onto the festival site.
When asked about the cancellation, Kemp said, "There’s 20 other states that have conceal carry laws. There's music festivals that have gone on in them. They’ve gone on in the state of Georgia."
Kemp didn't address the "guns everywhere" law, passed in 2014, that appears to have undone Music Midtown.
Kemp said businesses continue to locate in Georgia – even as the state broadens gun rights and restricts abortion rights.
The governor’s stance on gun rights doesn’t apply at the State Capitol, where state troopers screen visitors and disallow firearms. It also doesn’t apply to Sanford Stadium, where state law says patrons at University of Georgia football games can’t carry guns.
But Kemp said even that’s open to discussion.
"That would be a policy decision that we can discuss when the General Assembly gets back in," next year, he said. "This is an issue, conceal carry, that I campaigned on. I’m fulfilling my promises and Georgians know that."