Democrat Stacey Abrams Blames Governor Kemp for Gun Control Concerns That Forced Cancellation of Music Midtown Festival

Toby Hazlewood

Was it anything to do with the governor?

Organizers of Atlanta's Music Midtown Festival cancelled the event on August 1, primarily due to safety concerns arising from whether they could implement a local ban on guns from the festival site.

In response to the cancellation, Democratic challenger for the position of Governor of Georgia - Stacey Abrams - wasted no time in sharing her opinion on who was to blame. In her opinion, Abrams clearly felt that fault lay with Governor Brian Kemp. She shared her opinions on Twitter.

While Stacey Abrams chose to focus upon the costs to Georgia's economy and the "dangerous and extreme gun agenda" fostered by Governor Kemp that forced the festival organizers to cancel the event, there's an argument that the cancellation has little to do with the governor.

Was it anything to do with Governor Kemp?

Abrams' criticism seems to rest on Governor Kemp for him having signed constitutional carry of handguns into state law earlier this year.

When the governor signed SB319 into law, it meant that constitutional carry of handguns became legal in the state. In practice it meant that any qualifying person could own and carry a handgun without first applying for a permit or having to undergo training.

It would seem though, that the law that's been problematic for festival organisers is the Safe Carry Protection Act which was passed in 2014. A legal challenge to that law in 2019 found that organisers of private events held on leased land did not have the legal right to prevent legal gun owners from carrying guns.

While this is just another aspect of Georgia's laws regarding the ownership of guns, it's important to note that Governor Kemp wasn't the governor at that time. It was implemented by Governor Nathan Deal, with the support of his Democratic challenger at the time - Jason Carter.

According to one report, organizers of Music Midtown feared they would be subject to lawsuits from gun owners if they tried to enact temporary restrictions. They also feared that artists would back out from appearing if guns were allowed at the event. Behind these concerns, it was the Safe Carry Protection Act that really forced their hands in making the decision to cancel.

Stacey Abrams - struggling to make ground against Gov. Kemp?

There are signs that Stacey Abrams may be struggling to make political ground as she campaigns to replace Brian Kemp as governor. Her tweet from August 1, blaming Gov. Kemp for the cancellation of Music Midtown and the consequent economic loss for the city of Atlanta may be another example of her trying to score political points.

In May she felt the backlash of having made a rash statement in which she described Georgia as "the worst state in the country to live". Her comments were made in the context of various statistics including mental health, gun crime and maternal mortality, but in spite of the evidence, there seemed to be significant repercussions from her comments.

Her remarks about Governor Kemp's role in the cancellation of Music Midtown may help her campaign, or they may hinder it through their technical inaccuracy - time will tell.

Do you think Georgia's gun-control laws are to blame for the cancellation of the Music Midtown festival? Would you feel safe at such an event knowing that others were carrying guns? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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