PolitiFact: Are Warnock, Abrams trying to take guns from Georgians?

Gun Rights

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The top two Democrats on Georgia’s election ticket are communists and gun confiscators, according to an attack ad released by a gun rights group in the final days before the Nov. 8 midterms.

Georgia Gun Owners’ ad running on both Facebook and Instagram is directed at U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

“Raphael Warnock and Stacey Abrams are radical communists and, if they get their way, gun owners here in Georgia will be completely disarmed!”  the ad’s caption said. “That’s what they want, to turn our beloved Georgia, and America, into the next China — where only the government has guns.”

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It features the Georgia Gun Owners’ leader, Aaron Dorr, reiterating the attacks on the Abrams and Warnock and on President Joe Biden. Dorr says they are communists who hate America and “want to turn it into the next China.”

The ad makes a false claim without evidence. Warnock and Abrams have not espoused communist policies or called for blanket seizures of guns.

The Nov. 8 contests

Warnock, who won a special election in January 2021, is being challenged by former college and professional football player Herschel Walker, a Republican. The toss-up race could help decide which party controls the Senate, which is split 50-50.

Abrams is running against first-term GOP Gov. Brian Kemp; she narrowly lost to him in 2018.

Georgia Gun Owners did not respond to our messages requesting evidence for the ad’s claims.

Communism typically involves authoritarian rule, a one-party government that owns all property and controls the means of production, and advocates for ending capitalism.

Warnock and Abrams have not espoused such policies.

“Many on the right use the word communist as a catchall epithet to describe pretty much any liberal policy or person,” said Jeffrey Lazarus, political science professor at Georgia State University. “Neither Warnock nor Abrams has said anything remotely close to advocating for a public takeover of significant sectors of the economy. The idea doesn’t have any sort of cachet in mainstream Democratic circles.” 

Warnock’s campaign pointed to news reports that identified him as a capitalist after he was attacked as a Marxist during his first Senate campaign. Abrams’ campaign denied that she is a communist.

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“While various policies espoused by Abrams and Warnock might be labeled liberal or progressive, especially compared to previous statewide candidates in Georgia, there is nothing they are promoting that comes anywhere near being labeled communist,” said Thomas Hunter, a political scientist at the University of West Georgia. “It is ludicrous to call them ‘radical communists.’”

Warnock’s and Abrams’ stance on gun access

Warnock and Abrams have not called for widespread gun confiscation.

Hunter said that although Abrams and Warnock favor gun control, “neither has come anywhere near calling for the widespread confiscation of weapons.”

Warnock is endorsed by the Giffords anti-gun violence group, which praised his support of legislation to restrict firearm access for people who have committed domestic abuse and to require background checks on all gun sales.

The National Rifle Association has criticized Warnock’s support of legislation that would ban semiautomatic weapons such as AR-15-style rifles. 

Warnock’s campaign website does not address guns and he has been less outspoken than Abrams about gun control. His campaign said Warnock has supported ”common-sense” gun control efforts, not taking away guns.

Abrams told Axios in June that she would pursue “the obvious and the common-sense gun safety rules that do not infringe upon anyone’s ability to carry.”

She supports limiting access to guns for domestic violence perpetrators and stalkers, and enabling people and law enforcement officials to petition courts to temporarily restrict gun access for people who have mental health problems that threaten themselves or others. The NRA has criticized Abrams’ stance, claiming her restrictions “would strip Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans without due process.” 

Giffords endorsed Abrams.

None of Abrams’ gun-control proposals “would lead to law-abiding gun owners being ‘completely disarmed’,” campaign spokesperson Alex Floyd said.

Our ruling

Georgia Gun Owners claimed that Warnock and Abrams are “radical communists and, if they get their way, gun owners here in Georgia will be completely disarmed.”

The two Georgia Democrats have not advocated communist policies, such as complete government ownership of property. They also have not called for the widespread confiscation of guns from all people in Georgia.

The claim is inaccurate and distorts reality. We rate it Pants on Fire!

Our Sources

Meta, Georgia Gun Owners ad on Facebook and Instagram, started running Oct. 30, 2022

Email, Raphael Warnock campaign spokesperson Rachel Petri, Nov. 2, 2022

Email, Stacey Abrams campaign spokesperson Alex Floyd, Nov. 2, 2022

PolitiFact, ”No, Stacey Abrams did not pose with a campaign sign that described her as a ‘communist,’” Nov. 6, 2018

PolitiFact, ”No, Bernie Sanders is not a communist, contrary to Scott Walker claim,” March 4, 2020

PolitiFact, ”A Florida county GOP says a Tampa Dem is a communist. That’s ‘completely false and indefensible,’” Dec. 15, 2021

PolitiFact, ”Allen West says about 80 House Democrats are members of the Communist Party,” April 11, 2012

StaceyAbrams.com, ”Safety and justice,” accessed Nov. 1, 2022

Axios, ”Exclusive: Stacey Abrams’ gun control plan,” June 16, 2022

Email, Jeffrey Lazarus, political science professor at Georgia State University, Nov. 1, 2022

Email, Thomas Hunter, political scientist at the University of West Georgia, Nov. 2, 2022

Giffords, ”Raphael Warnock,” accessed Nov. 1, 2022

Giffords, ”Giffords Endorses Stacey Abrams for Governor of Georgia,” April 13, 2022

CNN, ”Loeffler unleashes onslaught against Warnock in Georgia race for Senate control,” Nov. 13, 2020

NRA-PVF, ”Defend Freedom. Defeat Raphael Warnock,” accessed 

NRA-PVF, ”Vote Freedom First. Vote Brian Kemp For Georgia Governor!”, Nov. 1, 2022

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, ”Revived gun control debate could roil Georgia Senate race,” June 6, 2022

Cook Political Report, 2022 Senare race ratings, accessed Nov. 2, 2022

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