Ossoff Tells Voters He'll Defend Second Amendment But Wants to Ban Semiautomatic Rifle Sales

Senate candidate Jon Ossoff (D., Ga.) / Getty Images
October 1, 2020

Georgia Democratic Senate hopeful Jon Ossoff is running as a defender of the Second Amendment but supports a ban on all semiautomatic rifle sales.

Ossoff portrays himself as a protector of gun rights in a new ad airing across the state. "Nothing’s more important than keeping Georgians safe," he says. "I’ll defend our Second Amendment."

Ossoff’s list of endorsements from top gun-control groups, including the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and the Brady PAC, raises questions about his claim.

He has called for a ban on selling "semiautomatic rifles," referring to them as "assault weapons." Such a ban would include the AR-15, the most popular rifle in the United States. Democrats endorsed banning assault weapons at their 2020 national convention as well, and they have made gun control a central part of their legislative priority if they regain full control of Congress.

Ossoff was noncommittal on support for a gun buyback when asked by MSNBC last year, but said he supported "strict licensing" for all semiautomatic weapons.

The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund gave Ossoff an "F" rating for his stance on gun control.

The group endorsed Ossoff's opponent, Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.). The two are in a tight race that is crucial to Senate party control next year.

"The people of Georgia want a senator who stands by their convictions, whether they're speaking to folks in Fulton County or Tift County, but Jon Ossoff seems to have a problem when it comes to telling them the truth," Perdue told the Washington Free Beacon in a statement. Fulton County contains Atlanta and is the state's most populous county, while Tift County is located in rural southern Georgia.

Ossoff's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Besides his opposition to a Georgia law allowing concealed carry on college campuses, Ossoff largely sidestepped guns during his failed run for Georgia's Sixth Congressional District in 2017. He told reporters at the time that he "grew up around firearms" and would support legislation that would "keep people safe and uphold the Second Amendment."

"This has become too typical of lying liberal Jon Ossoff, as he is now trying to cover up his radical anti-Second Amendment record from Georgians," said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Paige Lindgren. "His false claims and lies about protecting the Second Amendment are an effort to pander to one audience in part of the state while appeasing his base in another."

Ossoff also claimed in the new ad he did not support defunding police, although he said in June that funding for police departments had to be "on the line" if they failed to meet hypothetical federal standards on proper use of force.