The anti-gun violence group founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords endorsed Democrat Stacey Abrams on Thursday in Georgia’s race for governor.
Giffords, who survived a 2011 mass shooting that killed six people, said she backs Abrams because she will “work to build support for commonsense measures that stop individuals who are in danger of hurting themselves or others” from obtaining guns.
Both Abrams and her Democratic opponent, former state Rep. Stacey Evans, have called for stiff new gun restrictions, marking something of a sea change for Democratic candidates for governor in Georgia.
But one vote might have helped Abrams secure the backing of Courage to Fight Gun Violence, the Giffords group once known as Americans for Responsible Solutions.
A measure passed to little fanfare in 2012 prohibited the destruction of firearms by local law enforcement during criminal investigations, and required cities and counties to auction off the guns they collected within six months. Abrams voted against Senate Bill 350, Evans backed it.
Abrams, a former Georgia House minority leader, cited that measure in a statement, saying “egregious Georgia laws prevent our police from keeping automatic weapons away from violent actors and force them to put weapons used in crimes back on the streets.”
“My family hunts, and I know how to shoot a pistol, fire a rifle and respect the power of firearms,” she added. “Because of my respect for weapons and the Constitution, I will consistently support gun safety policies that prevent violence.”
Giffords’ group has played an increasing role in battleground races around the nation, and Georgia’s wide-open race for governor has already attracted outsized attention.
Four leading Republicans are also in the hunt: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, former state Sen. Hunter Hill and state Sen. Michael Williams. Each has called for loosening gun restrictions as they compete for the GOP nomination.