Mayor Learnard dodges direct questions about her support of strict changes to state gun laws

Peachtree City Council members Mike King (L) and Clint Holland at a June 2023 budget hearing.Photo/Cal Beverly
Peachtree City Council members Mike King (L) and Clint Holland at a June 2023 budget hearing.Photo/Cal Beverly.

In response to five questions about her support of a letter from more than 40 mayors statewide calling for action on their calls for stricter gun laws in Georgia, Peachtree City Mayor Kim Learnard released a 2-sentence statement Sept. 1:

“As Mayor, my paramount responsibility is the general welfare of our entire city. My promise to every citizen is unwavering: I will do everything in my power and in my good judgment to build a safe and healthy community for us all,” Mayor Learnard wrote in the email.

She did not answer the specific questions posed to her last week by The Citizen concerning her signature on the mayors’ letter to Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia General Assembly.

Two members of the City Council objected to the mayor’s unilateral action without prior consultation with the council.

“Why did you not apprise or consult the city council before replying in an official capacity?” emailed Post 3 Councilman Clint Holland.

Post 2 Councilman Mike King was more blunt. “For the record I was not asked my opinion reference Kim’s letter, and quite frankly taken aback. I’m certain the other three Council Members will answer for themselves.

“While I support her right as a private citizen to make her views public, but find her highly hypocritical.

“Personally, the requirements set forth [in the mayors’ letter] are quite vague. For example the last requirement seems to ban all semiautomatic weapons without consideration of how they are purposed,” King wrote in an email to The Citizen.

Here’s what The Citizen asked the mayor:

“1. How was this an appropriate action of the mayor of Peachtree City, thereby representing an official position of Peachtree City, its government and its 38,000-plus citizens, as opposed to your signature as a private individual representing only [your] private, personal viewpoint?”

ANSWER: No answer from Learnard.

“2. How many of the City Council knew in advance about your official signature?”

ANSWER: No answer from the mayor. Two city council members have said they had no advance knowledge of Learnard signing the letter as mayor.

“3. How many of the city’s population do you think your position accurately represents?”

ANSWER: No direct answer from Learnard. Her response indicated that her support of stricter gun laws was for “the general welfare” of the city and was meant to “do everything in my power and in my good judgment to build a safe and healthy community for us all.”

“4. Will you be affixing your official signature as mayor of Peachtree City to any other controversial state and national policy and cultural debates?”

ANSWER: No answer from Learnard.

“5. If so, how do you justify using your official position to make broad statements that by implication represent the political and cultural positions of your constituents?”

ANSWER: No answer from Learnard.

In response to Councilman King’s email, editor Cal Beverly said the following:

“Mike, thanks for your reply. My issue is not her personal opinion, but her expression of any official opinion presented by the public representative of the City Council on a matter of significant debate among voters of Peachtree City.

“Any statement by ‘the Mayor’ to both the General Assembly and the governor of this state carries the implication that she is speaking for the City Council, the city government and the residents of this city.

“I have absolutely NO problem with Kim Learnard, private citizen, stating whatever she believes, whether I personally agree with her or not.

“My problem is when she issues a statement under her official elected title that cloaks her view as an official position of the entire city. I think she is out of line to do what no other mayor of Peachtree City has ever done: Affix the signature of mayor to a petition to the legislature and the governor to take actions that likely many of the city’s residents would strongly disagree with as the official stance of Peachtree City.

“It would be proper (though controversial and maybe unwise) for the City Council to authorize an official letter to state officials under the signature of the mayor about stricter gun rules. But she should not put the authority of the mayor’s office behind any official action without the express consent of the council.

“This warrants — at the very least — an expression by the full council of where it stands as an elected body on the policy letter the mayor signed.

“My concern: will she begin to sign her name using her official title of mayor to other extremely controversial political and cultural debates?

“Will the city get drawn into the culture wars because of one person usurping the authority of her title to lobby for positions disliked by many city residents — positions not even imagined by previous mayors?”

Currently, there seem to be no answers from Mayor Kim Learnard.


  1. FWIW, she IS the mayor. That is her title. She doesn’t need authorization from anyone else to express her view as the mayor of the City. The democratic-representative process was spoken through the election.

    Had she signed “on behalf of the Peachtree City City Council,” yes, that would be a problem. If she had signed WITHOUT her title (implying she was speaking for the City itself), that would also be a problem. But the simple fact remains: she IS the mayor. In the exact same way that Governor Kemp doesn’t call me or other Georgians up or the General Assembly when he sends letters to Congress or the President, she doesn’t need authority from anyone else.

    Now, if you don’t like her stance on the issue, it is perfectly fine to express that. It is perfectly fine to vote against her in the next election. But I don’t think it is right to complain about her using her position to elevate an issue she cares about.

    • The mayor signed on to a letter to the Governor. She only had the opportunity to do so because she is the mayor. This defines a political action, an action that purportedly reflects the population that elected her. One in such a position cannot ignore these optics and I suspect our mayor is fully aware of this.

  2. C’mon, mayor! You put our city’s name on a proposal of interest to most of us. It doesn’t matter which side of the issue we find ourselves, we deserve to hear directly from you about it.

    Cal put forward five straightforward questions – – no “gotchas” – – to which all PTC citizens should get answers. Yet you dodge some of them with some vague mush, and do not address others at all. Not acceptable.

  3. This Mayor is a smooth politician that knows how to avoid direct answers. She knows if she were to be transparent and allow the voters to know her thoughts and positions on anything asked of her that she would lose hands down.

    She must be denied support on council! She must go.

  4. The upcoming election this November for the 2 open city council seats is critical to replace the Mayor’s “Nod Squad” (King & Prebor) and shutdown the current mayor’s liberal agenda set out to destroy PTC. We then need to make sure that our current mayor is a one-term mayor.