Gov. Kemp addresses accusations state’s gun laws to blame for crime in Atlanta

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp pushed back hard Wednesday against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom’s assertion that Georgia’s gun laws are partly to blame for the uptick in violent crime in the city.

“Well, that’s ridiculous because that has nothing to do with the problems we’ve been seeing,” Kemp said.

There have been several high-profile violent events within the city recently, like The shooting death of 15-year-old Diamond Johnson who was gunned down outside of a restaurant on Saturday.

Bottoms called on state leaders to look at what she calls the state’s lax gun laws.

“Until that happens, I’m so sad to say that this likely will not be the last time I stand here,” Bottoms said.

She would like to see the state strengthen background checks, close loopholes and see a return of the federal assault weapons ban.

“I think a byproduct of that will be that people who should not have guns in their possession, it makes it more difficult to get guns in their possession,” Bottoms said.

But the governor pushed back, highlighting that the gun laws on the books today are the same ones on the books before this uptick in violent crime.

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The promotion of Rodney Bryant to full-time police chief is something both Bottoms and Kemp agree on.

Kemp believes the only thing that will stop crime is a cooperation between law enforcement agencies but insists there is only so much the state can do.

“The state’s only got so many resources. There’s more Atlanta police than the entire state patrol, and we’ve got to police the whole state, help all the local communities. And we’re doing what we can, but it’s going to be up to locals to do more,” Kemp said.