Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms blames a crime wave in her city on lax gun laws, young people being out of school and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to make Georgia one of the early states to begin reopening. 

Asked if officers have been "hesitant" to respond to crime amid heightened tensions of the past year, Bottoms said "absolutely not." 

"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 and partying in our city," Bottoms told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle on Friday. 


Kemp began easing COVID-19 restrictions in late March, following states like Texas and Mississippi and drawing the ire of Democrats. The Centers for Disease Control didn't relax its guidelines for vaccinated people until mid-May. 

Killings are up 58% in Atlanta from 2020, but even that year, amid widespread lockdowns, was one of the deadliest in decades, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. There were 157 homicides in 2020, up from 99 in 2019. K

"We are doing every single thing we can," the Democratic mayor said. She said her administration is making a push for young people to find work this summer, noting that closed schools of the past year left young people restless. 

"We’re getting at least 1,000 young people to work this summer. That will help until we deal with systemic issues of the gun violence epidemic in this country - how easily young people, people with mental illness can access guns in this country."

Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted Saturday in response to Bottoms: "According to the mayor, rising crime in our capital city is everyone’s fault but her’s. Getting Georgians back to work, back to school, and back to normal didn’t lead to more crime. The left’s anti-police, soft-on-crime agenda is to blame."


As Bottoms noted, cities across the country are grappling with a spike in crime. Shootings in New York City were up 166% from April 2020 to April 2021.

The mayor's comments come as crime has become so high in one affluent suburb of her city – Buckhead – that residents are trying to separate from being part of Atlanta

The mayor's office did not respond to Fox News' request for comment.