Georgia gun laws weigh on Atlanta’s bid to host

Georgia gun laws weigh on Atlanta’s bid to host the 2024 Democratic Convention

Gun laws are already affecting public events in Atlanta. In April 2022, Mr. Kemp signed into law a measure passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly, allowing most Georgians to openly carry a gun in public spaces without permission. A few months later, the Midtown Music Festival canceled its annual event after organizers said they didn’t know how to protect their expected 50,000 visitors. A week later, another event, the 404 Festival, also canceled its gathering over safety concerns.

Then this month, the SweetWater Brewing Company moved its SweetWater 420 Fest out of Centennial Olympic Park — where the Democratic National Convention would potentially be held — and greatly downsized the event to hold it on the brewery premises, a private space, citing security the festival goer. Security advisers said that while the first open-carry law was passed back in 2014, repeated mass shootings, the end of licensing requirements and a rise in gun violence since 2020 have drawn insurers’ attention and skyrocketed the cost of covering large public events driven.

Last but not least, such headlines allow Chicago advocates to highlight their city’s strict gun control laws and Illinois’ newly enacted sweeping ban on high-powered guns and high-capacity magazines. Though the law is denied full passage in court, its existence is part of a broader claim that Chicago is more in line with party values, including a constitutional right to unionize and abortion rights.

Union leaders, who privately brought their lawsuit against Atlanta, are also speaking out louder, saying that accommodation in union hotels and attending events at union organized venues is important to many state delegations and union officials. Some union leaders said they remained silent when then-President Barack Obama chose Charlotte, North Carolina, for the 2012 convention. This time they won’t.

“Joe Biden is the most pro-union president in history, and having him in a pro-union city strengthens that record and sends a message,” said Ross Templeton, political and legislative director of the International Association of Iron Workers.

Jonathan Weisman reported from Chicago and Maya King from New York.

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