School is out and summer is in full swing, meaning endless nights of teens hanging out with their friends around metro-Atlanta. However, the effects of the relaxed gun laws in Georgia have opened the gate for gun-related violence among teens. In April of 2022, Governor Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 319 into law in the State of Georgia, making it legal for Georgia residents who own guns to carry concealed guns without gaining a permit from the state. Despite 70% of Georgia voters being opposed to permitless carry when the bill was signed into law in April, and according to an article published by the Pew Research Center in April 2023, the total number of children and teens killed by gunfire in the United States increased by 50% in the two year span of 2019 and 2021; Kemp claims that by signing the law into place “we’re trying to give our citizens the law-abiding ability to protect and defend themselves, their families, their properties, and their places of business.”
However, since Senate Bill 319 was signed into law, Georgia has suffered from the loss of many teens at the hands of gun violence, most of whom are black and brown children. Some of the most recent names in the news of teens and children who have been killed by gun violence are Zyion Charles (12), Cameron Jackson (15) , Deshon Dubose (13), and most recently, Bre’Asia Powell (16). In November, following the murder of Zyion Charles and Cameron Jackson on the 17th Street Bridge in Midtown, many teens don’t feel safe in the area, nor are they surprised that something like this occurred.
“I wasn’t shocked that [the shooting] happened,” says Atlanta teen Ava B. who was at the nearby Atlantic Station ice skating rink when the November shooting occurred. She says her mom even warned her and had the whole “stay safe, be responsible talk” prior to dropping her off. “It definitely makes me not want to plan hangouts there anymore,” Ava added, “especially because it was between kids our age.”
Ava shares the concern of many teens and city officials in the area, leading to the curfew of teens aged sixteen and under being enforced at 11 p.m. However, with so many cases of gun violence among teens and rumors about the Atlanta curfew flying left and right, many teens impacted by the curfew don’t have a clear understanding of what the curfew is in place for or what time it goes into effect. In our video, we interviewed Atlanta teens as well as Councilwoman Keisha Waites to get to the bottom of what the curfew stands for and bring it to light.