Why Nathan Deal signed the Georgia ‘campus carry’ bill

Gov. Nathan Deal. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a campus gun measure last year with a scathing message invoking a Supreme Court opinion that declared universities “sensitive” places that should be free of firearms. So why did he sign a revamped gun measure this year?

The short answer is that the governor last year also made a personal request to lawmakers for exemptions to the measure that were ignored. This year, when legislators acceded to all his demands and added other exceptions, it made a veto very unlikely.

A longer answer comes from Deal’s signing statement. He stuck by his argument that college campuses are “sensitive” places. But he said the carve-outs – which include gun restrictions at on-campus day care centers and faculty offices – address his “major concerns” .

“These excluded areas represent the most ‘sensitive places’ on a college campus,” Deal said in his signing statement. “It is altogether appropriate that weapons not be allowed in these areas. I appreciate the thoughtful consideration given by the General Assembly in expanding these excluded areas within a college campus in this year’s bill.”

He also elaborated on a concern he’s voiced several times in recent days: That campus gun restrictions left students and faculty in off-campus areas headed to or from class “defenseless” to criminals who know they’re unarmed.

“At the present time, assailants can, and do, target these students knowing full well that their victims are not permitted to carry protection – even those who are weapons carry license holders – because they are either going to or coming from a campus where no weapons are allowed,” he said.

And he repeated his criticism of city and county police departments in areas where colleges are located, saying he is “not convinced that their response has been adequate.”

He’s already facing a torrent of criticism from gun control advocates, faculty leaders and student groups that cheered his veto last year. Some groups could threaten lawsuits over an apparent grammatical error in the legislation; others worry that prospective faculty and students will steer clear of Georgia.

And Democrats aim to make it an issue in the 2018 race to replace him. House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, who has filed paperwork to run for governor, said in a Twitter message that she will “fight for legislation that makes our campuses safer.”


 

Reader Comments 0

82 comments
Matt Steffney
Matt Steffney

Learn more about your gun rights at GeorgiaCarry.Org.

Jeri Henson Dies
Jeri Henson Dies

Just not enough people in Georgia being shot and we gotta sell those guns to people who want to live in the Wild, Wild Georgia.

Terry Scoggins
Terry Scoggins

If any of you would ever read past the ACJ headlines you would know that section 1 lines 26-37 list the places you can't carry on campus. Which is pretty much everywhere. Deal is no conservative and he is no friend of freedom. He pretty much handed liberals a win and you're to dumb to realize it. Like Paul Ryan, John McCain and many others, Deal is Wolf in sheep's clothing. Maybe I should say a liberal in conservative clothing.

Lisa Foust
Lisa Foust

What changed is the NRA got to him, wined and dined him. What a coward.

Joel Rea
Joel Rea

What do the people of Georgia expect? Deal left congress because of ethics violations, so Georgia made him governor! Just more proof that republicans would vote for any crook who's name had an "r" in front of it!

Cecelia Landress
Cecelia Landress

So disappointed. Goes to show he does not understand schools

Arthur Morrison
Arthur Morrison

Deals a coward. Still a no gun policy at the Capitol.

Matthew Hunnicutt
Matthew Hunnicutt

I'm glad all these people that aren't attending college are so happy...

Katherine White
Katherine White

They are making it easy for the bad guys and terrorist that they try to scare us with to get guns.

Katherine White
Katherine White

I consider most Republican's terrorists thank you very much

Teresa Nichols
Teresa Nichols

Yeah he voted for medical marijuana also , but without dispensaries aloud here in Georgia it's like a cruel joke . We vote for a new Governor November 6th Nathan Deal has to go , vote for someone who's welling to help Georgia. I personally believe that making marijuana legal in Georgia has great benefits, at the end of 2016 marijuana sales reached a billion dollars from legal taxed sales, our Roads are in desperate needs, our Veterans are suffering, our homeless are everywhere most are mentally sick or addicted to Opiate's, Heroin. There's proven numbers that states with legalized marijuana that Opiate's are on the decline. MARIJUANA is definitely not worse than Alcohol and a far cry from Heroin A Sessions says. The Revenue along with benefits medical would help the state of Georgia. Vote for the right person for Georgia not because he is a Democrat, or a Republican Vote because he is Right for the State of Georgia and what Georgians need. God Bless everyone. Amen

Herman Holland
Herman Holland

It's amazing that the idiots on here are happy that untrained, possibly impaired, (remember you can carry in bars) Georgians can now take their anger along with their guns to schools to straighten out those teachers that mistreat Johnny, who just happens to be an incorrigible delinquent just like dad. But,then no one would shoot up a school, would they?

Sam Basye
Sam Basye

You obviously don't own a gun, therefore you do not even understand what it takes to obtain a permit. You are ignorant.

Herman Holland
Herman Holland

I may be but I have a Nevada, Utah, and Ga. License. I had to go to a class for 8 hr. For the Nevada and 8 hr for the Utah. Plus we had to qualify at the firing range to get a license to carry. The Ga. Required nothing but a clean record. Anyone who isn't afraid of Ga. License holders are the ignorant ones. You think the gov. Is Doing you a favor by putting so many untrained people on the street. I think not.

Fred South
Fred South

I think the colleges need to replace one of their socialism classes with one teaching the proper way to handle and shoot a gun!

Matt Steffney
Matt Steffney

Learn more about your gun rights at GeorgiaCarry.Org.

Jon Crumbley
Jon Crumbley

Awesome. I can finally be responsible for my own safety on campus.

Jon Crumbley
Jon Crumbley

I'm concerned about Mohammad jihad running around shooting fish in a barrel

Elaine Daprano
Elaine Daprano

You should be more worried about a North Korean EMP. Oh but then, your little gun wouldn't be much help! Get a LICENSE.

Sam Basye
Sam Basye

Elaine Daprano, go bake some cookies. This is a man's issue anyway.

Sandra Schwarz Aiken
Sandra Schwarz Aiken

He never made it mandatory that anyone carry a gun. Those who do have to be licensed and over 21 to do it legally.

Carol Wells Allen
Carol Wells Allen

Cops can't check for permits wo problem cause, so the age requirement is toothless.

Sandra Schwarz Aiken
Sandra Schwarz Aiken

Criminals don't know who is carrying and who is not. If mine was still in college I would be a responsible parent, when he turned 21 he would have taken a safety class and obtained his permit before carrying a weapon.

Herman Holland
Herman Holland

Sandra, so you say those that carry have to be licensed. I wonder if you know what that means. It means you went to the clerk in charge, showed your drivers license and if you don't have a record, you walk out of there with a license to carry a concealed weapon. It doesn't mean that you know zip about guns, handling guns, loading guns, firing guns, when you can you a gun or anything else. Your governor just just put you and your families lives a lot more danger. Last year a woman shot at a thief in the Loews parking lot because she saw him stealing from the store. She thought that her license to carry made her an auxiliary policeman. Why not, no one told her different. It's a good thing you or your kids weren't in the parking lot that day. You may be in the line of fire next time though, she's a not the only person who thinks she's a part time cop. While your governor is playing politics with the NRA, you may suffer, or your child in school. Funny they don't allow them around the politicians, that should tell you something. If you think allowing people with no training to carry guns around bars and schools is a good idea, then you don't know what a good idea is. By the way, I came from a state with mandatory training and you have to qualify on the firing range to get a carry permit. I'm not a threat to Georgians, Georgians are a threat to me.

Sandra Schwarz Aiken
Sandra Schwarz Aiken

Most responsible people that are not familiar with firearms would take a class or atleast go to a range. It would be great if a certification was required.

Sam Basye
Sam Basye

Herman Holland is completely incorrect with his comment.

Tracy Bumgarner
Tracy Bumgarner

John Woods, who do you think you are? You act like you are superior and macho but I see you the quite opposite.

Mallory Harris
Mallory Harris

Our "so called governor" just put the gun lobby's priorities over the advice of campus police and pleas of the majority of students, faculty, and university admins. SAD!

Julie Heitzenrater Duval
Julie Heitzenrater Duval

Reading the fine print, only students with cars or living off campus can carry. Maybe makes me feel a little better?