Bottoms, a Democrat, told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle that lax gun laws and young people with too much free time have added to a 50 percent rise in murders from before the pandemic — though she said Gov. Brian Kemp’s controversial April 20, 2020, move to relieve lockdown restrictions was also a significant culprit.
“Remember in Georgia we were opened up before the rest of the country, even before the CDC said that it was safe for us to open so our night clubs and our bars remained open so we had people traveling here from across the country to party in our city,” Bottoms announced throughout the Friday interview.
The mayor further explained that the pandemic “left a lot of people battered and bruised, not just physically but also emotionally,” which has led to a rise and personal conflicts that were aggravated by easy access to guns.
“Until we deal with the systemic issues of gun violence in this country, how easily young people, people with mental illnesses can access guns in this country, I’m afraid that this will not be the last summer that we are having this conversation,” Bottoms told the cable network.
The mayor stressed that the rise in violent crime was not uncommon in Atlanta.
“If it were an Atlanta issue alone then I’d know that there was something that we weren’t getting right… but I’m talking to mayors and hearing from mayors in cities and large urban areas, we’re all experiencing this which means that we all have to work together to find a solution to this gun violence that is gripping our nation,” Bottoms told Ruhle.
Recent numbers show shootings in New York City are up by roughly 68 percent in 2021 compared to last year.
Bottoms explained that her city is working with the FBI to clamp down on criminals while starting a new summer employment program for teens, according to the report.
The mayor’s remarks appear as some community leaders in Atlanta’s ritzy Buckhead neighborhood are moving to secede from the city over increased crime.
Bill White, chairman and CEO of the Buckhead City Committee, explained that the decision to split was made as crime in Atlanta has skyrocketed while police are underfunded.
“We filed our divorce papers at the city of Atlanta — and our divorce is final,” White told host Bill Hemmer, adding: “We have two bills in the Georgia legislature dropping in January to decide this referendum ballot.”