Brian Kemp, a Republican candidate for governor in Georgia, has landed at the center of a political controversy thanks to a campaign ad meant to highlight his strong support for gun ownership. In the ad, which was intended to be humorous, the gubernatorial candidate pretends to threaten a boy who wants to date his daughter by pointing a shotgun at him. Naturally, not everybody was amused.
The 30-second spot begins with Kemp sitting in a chair casually polishing his shotgun before introducing the viewer to “Jake, a young man interested in one of his daughters.” Kemp then grills the nervous boy about his stance on major campaign issues and asks the teen to reiterate Kemp’s two rules for dating one of his daughters.
“Respect and a healthy appreciation for the Second Amendment, sir” replies the teen. Kemp then briefly points the gun at him (or, at least, too closely in his direction) before assuring him that they were going to “get along just fine.”
I'm a conservative businessman with a 4-Point Plan to put hardworking Georgians first. I'm also the proud father of 3 teenage girls. Here's the thing: If you want to date one of my daughters, you better have respect for women & a healthy appreciation for the 2nd Amendment. #gapol pic.twitter.com/dQvvfk06Rh
— Brian Kemp (@BrianKempGA) April 27, 2018
Unsurprisingly, the ad has been met with a great deal of criticism. According to the Hill, a local NBC affiliate in Georgia that has been airing the commercial revealed that it had received several complaints, including many from gun owners who feel the spot is not an accurate reflection of responsible gun ownership.
“I am a conservative who believes in the 2nd amendment but this commercial makes me want to vote for the other side,” one pro-gun commenter wrote.
But beyond the convoluted message and the fact that never pointing a gun at anyone is widely known as the number one rule in gun safety, Kemp’s ad shows a father once again relying on the lazy and sexist trope of threatening violence against anyone who might show interest in his daughter. It’s insulting to everyone involved, especially the daughter, who is suddenly treated like a possession instead of a human being. Hopefully, Kemp hears the criticism and figures out a more effective way to get his message across to Georgia voters.