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0 June 28, 2016

Gov. Deal Vetoes ‘Campus Carry’ – The WOLF News

By Bode Brooks, The WOLF News Director

Governor Nathan Deal has vetoed the controversial HB 859, known as the ‘Campus Carry’ bill. The legislation was sought after heavily by conservative and Second Amendment activists during this most recent legislative session. The ‘Campus Carry’ Bill would allow concealed carry of firearms on all public college campuses in Georgia by students 21 years of age or older. However, guns could not be carried in dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses, and athletic events. Classrooms and other events would still be open to carry under HB 859.

When HB 859 passed the Georgia Legislature, Deal requested provisions be made concerning on-campus daycare facilities, faculty and administrative office space, and disciplinary meetings, which were not addressed in HB 859. Speaker of the House David Ralston said no such provisions would be made and the bill would stand as is – that was nearly two months ago.

Advocates for the bill have defended it stating that it protects law-abiding students’ Second Amendment rights. In a Q&A with State Legislators Mike Dugan and Dusty Hightower earlier in April at UWG, both defended this notion. When asked how this system would be policed to prevent firearms entering dorms and Greek houses, State Representative Hightower asked back how it is policed now. Hightower followed up this question stating that ‘Campus Carry’ is for students who choose to follow the law and that if a student wanted to bring a gun illegally into a dorm there is nothing in place now to prevent them from doing so now, regardless of if ‘Campus Carry’ is signed in to law.

UWG faculty and staff, however, were more concerned from a workplace point of view, and some teachers openly expressed concerns at the Q&A over what could possibly happen should the atmosphere turn heated in the classroom. UWG President Kyle Marrero wrote a letter to Governor Deal requesting that he veto the ‘Campus Carry’ Bill. During this most recent semester, 12 guns were seized on-campus, including an AK-47.

In Deal’s veto statement on Tuesday, he stated: “If the intent of HB 859 is to increase safety of students on college campuses, it is highly questionable that such would be the result.” A majority of college presidents and critics of the gun measure warned that expanding gun rights would increase the likelihood of violent shootings. In addition to vetoing HB 859, Deal also issued an executive order instructing the higher education system to submit a report on campus security measures by August.

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