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The 2022 General Assembly convenes next Monday with passage of a state budget as the main priority. Yet there is also movement in both the House and Senate Republican caucuses to focus on two hot-button issues: constitutional gun carry and a ban on teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) and its anti-white tenets in Georgia schools.

Last year the General Assembly came close to passing a gun rights bill authored by state Rep. Mandi Ballinger which provides for an expansion of firearm license reciprocity with other states and restrictions on Georgia governors who would seek to curtail firearm rights under states of emergency. The bill passed both the House and the Senate but bogged down at the end of the session because of Senate amendments. Now there’s momentum to pass the Ballinger bill again.

In fact, other House and Senate lawmakers filed constitutional carry bills last year that remain alive in this session. They would remove the requirement for Georgians to have a permit to carry weapons.

While Gov. Brian Kemp hasn’t said anything of substance about the issue so far, former U.S. Sen. David Perdue– a GOP candidate for governor—gives unabashed support for constitutional carry.

“Law-abiding citizens should be able to exercise their Second Amendment rights to carry a firearm without having to pay for and carry a government permit,” Perdue said in a Dec. 20 statement. “Twenty-one states have constitutional carry, but despite his promises on the campaign trail, Brian Kemp has failed to make it a reality in Georgia. As governor, I’ll work with the state legislature to finally enact constitutional carry.”

A footnote: Currently, Georgians are required to hold a Weapons Carry License to carry a concealed weapon. That requires a valid Georgia ID, fingerprinting, a background check, and that most owners be at least 21.

Critical Race Theory Legislation

A team of eight House GOP members have been gathering documentation of anti-white materials and curriculum that have surfaced here and there in some schools. And last spring, state Rep. Brad Thomas, announced that he would write legislation to ban critical race theory— which holds that the U.S. is irredeemably “systematically racist” – from Georgia schools.

Rep. Emory Dunahoo says, “Critical race is a lot stronger than you think. I’ve been working on this for a year. There are things that will come out later. But our number one goal is to educate our children, and educate them not on one mind, but on what history truly is, and to educate them on a process of learning how to make it in the real world.” (Last June, it may be remembered that the Georgia Board of Education approved a resolution that did not mention critical race theory by name but asserted that the United States is not racist and that public school students should only be taught that slavery and racism are betrayals of the country’s founding principles.)

On the Senate side, state Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Cumming, lists a CRT ban as one of the top targets of Georgia’s new Freedom Caucus, which he chairs.

“When we see dangerous ideology creeping into our schools, we think that monitoring, making sure our children are taught how to think and not what to think is at the forefront of what we can do legislatively,” he says. “Our K through 12 education budget represents 38 percent of the budget here in the state of Georgia, and we want to make sure that investment is spent in a way that parents can be proud of.”

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