A Republican candidate for governor in Georgia has sparked controversy for jokingly handling a double-barrel shotgun while talking with a teen-aged boy who wants to date his daughter in a campaign ad.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp is shown holding the gun on his lap as the teen says he has to have a “healthy appreciation for the Second Amendment” if he wants to date one of his daughters.
The ad also shows a number of other guns in background imagery, while Kemp talks about eliminating regulations and making Georgia a friendlier state for small business.
The commercial aired on local TV stations and was also posted on the Kemp campaign’s social media accounts. One local station, 11Alive, had requests from viewers to stop airing the commercial, but said Federal Communications Commission rules prevent it from taking down political ads.
The Kemp campaign commercial comes at a particularly sensitive time in the national gun debate, just three months after 17 people were killed in the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting. Since the shooting, almost 800 schools across the country have received copycat threats about gun violence.
Backlash on social media has come from both side of the aisle. Some pointed out on that Kemp was breaking two major rules of gun safety — never point a gun anyone or anything if you have no intent to kill and treat all guns as if they are loaded — while others have said they found the ad a refreshing antidote to political correctness.
The Georgia primary is May 22. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News poll shows Kemp is in second place, lagging behind Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.