DPG Chair Statement on Kemp Taking Campaign Cash from Uvalde AR-15 Manufacturer

June 15, 2022

A new report has revealed that Brian Kemp took over $50,000 in political contributions from Daniel Defense, the gun manufacturer whose firearm was used in the recent mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The contributions include a $25,000 donation to Kemp’s political committee just weeks before he signed into law his extreme “criminal carry” bill, which makes it easier for criminals to carry loaded, hidden guns in public. In response, Democratic Party of Georgia Chair Congresswoman Nikema Williams offered the following statement:

“From his new extreme criminal carry law that increases the risk of gun violence in Georgia and pointing a shotgun at a boy for a TV ad to courting support from the gun lobby and accepting campaign cash from manufacturers of deadly weapons, Brian Kemp cannot be trusted to keep Georgians safe. With voters of all political parties calling for action to address gun violence and Kemp refusing to even consider ways to reduce gun violence, it’s becoming clearer by the day that the governor is wildly out of touch with Georgia voters when it comes to public safety and gun violence prevention. We deserve better than a governor who is willing to gamble with our lives to support his re-election campaign,” stated Congresswoman Nikema Williams, Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia.

Kemp made it a top priority to sign a dangerous new “criminal carry” bill into law that makes it easier for criminals to carry concealed handguns without a permit or its background check process. The law is opposed by 70% of Georgians and has drawn concerns from law enforcement officers and mayors across the state. Even a Second Amendment advocacy group worried it could have a detrimental impact on public safety, while members of Kemp’s own party are also backing away from Kemp’s extreme record on guns – from Republican voters to leaders like Kemp’s own Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan.

“Criminal carry” created a new loophole by eliminating part of the background check process which anyone wanting to carry a concealed firearm currently must undergo. The change makes it easier for individuals with a criminal history who purchased a gun through a private sale – which is not subject to a background check – to carry a weapon in public. The existing permit process prevented over 5,200 applicants from obtaining firearm carry licenses in 2020 — the majority of those denials were due to prior criminal records, outstanding arrests, mental health flags, or domestic violence charges.

States that have passed similar laws have seen increases in violent crime. Georgia already has the 17th highest rate of gun deaths in the nation and its rate of gun deaths increased 41% from 2011 to 2020. Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for kids and teens in the state.

American Independent: Georgia Gov. Kemp took $50,000 in donations from CEO of maker of Uvalde shooter’s gun

  • Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has received tens of thousands of dollars in donations from the CEO of Daniel Defense, a gun manufacturing company that made the rifle used by the shooter in the massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24.
  • Kemp has taken $50,200 from the Georgia-based company’s founder and CEO, Marty Daniel, so far in his two bids for governor, in 2018 and 2022, according to campaign finance records accessed by the American Independent Foundation. 
  • That $25,000 contribution came in on March 17, according to campaign disclosure reports, less than a month before Kemp signed a permitless carry law that allows Georgians to carry firearms without a license or a background check.
  • The Uvalde shooter used a Daniel Defense AR-style rifle in the shooting that killed 19 fourth graders and two teachers. Of the 49 firearms owned by the gunman who killed 58 people and wounded more than 700 at a country music festival in Las Vegas in 2017, four were semi-automatic rifles manufactured by Daniel Defense.
  • The company has come under fire for its marketing tactics, which include using video games such as “Call of Duty” in its advertisements and featuring images of Santa Claus and “Star Wars” characters, leading to accusations that its marketing its weapons to teenagers.
  • Daniel Defense has also used children in its advertising, tweeting on May 16 an image of a child holding an AR-style rifle along with the text “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
  • Now families of the victims of the shooting in Uvalde are mulling whether to file a lawsuit against Daniel Defense, looking into whether the company did in fact market its guns to teenagers.
  • Kemp, for his part, has praised the company, which offered “thoughts and prayers” to the victims’ families after both the Uvalde and the Las Vegas shootings.
  • An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released on Monday found that 59% of American adults think controlling gun violence is more important than protecting gun rights, while 35% say the latter is more important.
  • It’s unclear how Kemp’s support for loosening gun laws rather than tightening them or his ties to companies like Daniel Defense will impact his reelection chances.


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