Just three months after the high school mass shooting in Florida in which 17 people were killed, including 14 teenagers, Georgia's Republican candidate for governor Brian Kemp thinks it's comical to point a gun at a teenager as part of a campaign video.
“I’m Brian Kemp, this is Jake, a young man interested in one of my daughters,” he says in the video, in which he and a teenage-looking Jake are seating side by side, surrounded by guns.
Kemp has Jake tell us what Kemp's three goals as governor are – to "cap government spending...take a chainsaw to regulations...make Georgia number one for small business."
Kemp then adds that there are two things you have to know if you're going to date one of his daughters, which he has Jake tell us: "respect," and "a healthy appreciation for the second amendment." At this point Kemp closes his gun and points it toward Jake. "We're gonna get along just fine," he says with a smile.
The ad has had mixed reactions in Georgia. According to The Washington Post:
To Kemp’s supporters, the campaign ad is a lighthearted portrayal of a protective, gun-wielding Southern father vetting a potential suitor for one of his daughters. But to many viewers, the ad for a Georgia gubernatorial candidate came across as intimidating and a particularly bad example of how to handle a shotgun safely.
The ad, which was posted on Kemp’s campaign social media accounts and aired on local television stations, prompted backlash from viewers.
Many people, including numerous gun owners, took to social media to criticize Kemp’s handling of a potentially loaded firearm. “Since when is it okay for an adult to hold a weapon on a minor, ever? Are you crazy?” one comment on YouTube read.
“I get the frenzy to be the most ‘pro-gun’ guy in the race, but he’s breaking the first two rules of gun safety: treat every gun as if it’s loaded and don’t point a gun at anything or anyone you don’t intend to kill,” another observer wrote on Facebook.
A poll by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News released on Friday shows Kemp trailing behind in second place at 10% with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle at 41 percent. The Georgia primary is on May 22.