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Group protests gun violence at Rep. Andrew Clyde's Gainesville office
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Protesters against gun violence stand outside the office of Rep. Andrew Clyde on Friday, June 17, 2022, in Gainesville. - photo by Ben Anderson

Andrew Clyde wasn’t at his downtown office Friday, but that didn’t stop a group of protesters from gathering in the lobby and reading the obituaries of the two teachers and 19 children who were killed in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas on May 24. 

Rep. Clyde, R-Athens, owns a gun shop in Athens and describes himself as a staunch defender of the Second Amendment. He is running against Mike Ford, chair of the Hall County Democratic Party, for the U.S House 9th District. The winner will be decided in the Nov. 8 election.

Clyde’s campaign poster features a black assault rifle with a pledge to “protect the 2nd.” 

Clyde has said that the solution to school shootings consists in arming school employees, securing the perimeter and establishing a single point of entry. 

“We don’t need to harden schools,” Judy Kreps said to a staff assistant working the front desk. “Guns are the problem.” 

As a gun shop owner, she said, Clyde “profits by more dead children and more dead teachers.” 

Clyde’s staffers said he was in Washington D.C. He could not be reached for comment. 

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SusAn Beaulieu reads from a poster of one of the victims of the Uvalde, Texas, mass shooting during a protest against gun violence at the offices of Rep. Andrew Clyde on Friday, June 17, 2022, in Gainesville. - photo by Ben Anderson

Nine people showed up at Clyde’s congressional office on Washington St. Many of them also attended a march against gun violence last weekend on the square. It was one of hundreds of marches across the country organized by the national organization March for Our Lives, a group founded by survivors of the 2018 high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. 

Hours after the shooting in Uvalde on May 24, Clyde posted to Facebook promising to protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights. It is not clear whether Clyde had known about the shooting before making the post, or whether he or one of his staffers had written it. 

Nonetheless, he had told The Times that it’s not insensitive to defend Second Amendment rights even after a mass shooting like the one in Uvalde. 

“Protecting gun rights as a 24-hour 365-day-a-year job,” he told The Times June 11. “I don't see that as being insensitive at all because this is defending a constitutional right.”

The group that gathered Friday in Clyde’s office carried posters of the Uvalde victims and read from the obituaries inscribed on the backs. 

They left them stacked up on the front desk.

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Judy Kreps reads from a poster of one of the victims of the Uvalde, Texas, mass shooting during a protest against gun violence at the offices of Rep. Andrew Clyde on Friday, June 17, 2022, in Gainesville. - photo by Ben Anderson