GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp's latest campaign ad has drawn both criticism and support. pic.twitter.com/bdB1x7iD9t— Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) May 1, 2018
A Georgia gubernatorial candidate has taken his gun rights advocacy to a new level by releasing an advertisement that shows him aiming a gun at a teenager.
Brian Kemp, who currently serves as Georgia’s secretary of state, is featured in the ad sitting in a room surrounded by firearms, including handguns on a table to the right of him and rifles on a table in front of him, as well as what seems to be two AR-15 rifles leaning on the wall behind him.
Meanwhile, Kemp is seen seated on a leather chair with a double-barrel shotgun across his lap. He cleans the weapon off as he speaks into the camera. Beside him sits a teenage boy wearing khakis and a flannel button-down shirt.
“I’m Brian Kemp. This is Jake, a young man interested in one of my daughters,” he says, motioning to the teenager next to him.
“Yes, sir,” Jake responds nervously.
Kemp then prompts Jake to list off the reasons why he’s running for governor followed by the two things he must have if he’s going to date any of Kemp’s daughters.
“Respect,” Jake responds, and “a healthy appreciation for the Second Amendment, sir.”
I'm a conservative businessman with a 4-Point Plan to put hardworking Georgians first. I'm also the proud father of 3 teenage girls. Here's the thing: If you want to date one of my daughters, you better have respect for women & a healthy appreciation for the 2nd Amendment. #gapol pic.twitter.com/dQvvfk06Rh— Brian Kemp (@BrianKempGA) April 27, 2018
With Jake getting the answers correct, Kemp proceeds to close the gun as its pointed toward the young man.
“We’re going to get along just fine,” Kemp said.
Unsurprisingly, the ad sparked outrage after being posted to Kemp’s campaign social media pages and airing on local TV stations.
While Kemp’s supporters have excused the ad as being a jovial depiction of an overprotective father grilling his daughter’s date, others felt it was inappropriate and failed to show the safe and proper handling of a firearm as he was casually brandishing it throughout the ad.
Even many gun owners took issue with Kemp pointing the weapon at the teen, deeming the stunt irresponsible.
In addition to the social media backlash, The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence asserted that the ad “delivers a message perpetuating domestic violence and misogyny while modeling egregiously unsafe behavior.”
A few of the ad's critics found it particularly disturbing given that the state of Georgia is a neighbor of Florida, which is where the Parkland shooting massacre took place in February that left 17 people — most of them teenagers — dead.
One YouTube user wrote:
"Soooooo. 1) point gun at a kid. 2) threaten, with subtle, subtle innuendo that you'll shoot this kid (and maybe anyone) if they don't agree with you. Perfect. It's all a big fat funny joke until kids get shot in school because the shooter learned from you that threats and violence are cool- and a great way to get heard."
What the heck is wrong with you @BrianKempGA? As veterans, many of us have had to fire a weapon at another person. It is no joke. Nor is the idea of shooting High School kids, especially now. Yet, you joke about both.— VoteVets (@votevets) May 1, 2018
Take this garbage off the air.
Some viewers urged the local television station 11 Alive to stop airing the commercial. One person said that it “made me and my family very uncomfortable” while another wrote, “we are gun owners and we are outraged.” However, the station said it could not take down political ads under the rules of the Federal Communications Commission.
Kemp, himself, was very dismissive of people’s concerns.
“I’m conservative, folks. Get over it!” he wrote on Twitter.
He also sent an email to supporters in which he deemed the criticism "insane."
“Most are offended by my arsenal of firearms,” Kemp told his supporters. “Others think I’m being too protective of my daughters. Some are questioning the legitimacy of my Southern drawl and a liberal lawyer/blogger is even considering a criminal investigation.”
Kemp had to have known that his ad would be controversial, and perhaps, that's exactly what he wanted in order to make national headlines as a means of strengthening his campaign.
However, it seems that he may have done a disservice to himself as a number of proud conservative proponents of the Second Amendment took issue with the commercial and echoed many of the sentiments shared by more liberal voters.
It seems Kemp figuratively shot himself in the foot by airing this incredibly thoughtless ad and may have just cost himself the election.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann