Georgia Governor Veto’s Concealed Firearms On Campus Legislation
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declined to approve a law permitting individuals to wear a concealed weapon, while on the campus, of the state’s public colleges and university’s. The denial follows Tennessee’s ratification of a similar law, making it the 10th state, in the union, to allow concealed firearms on campuses.
With the support of the National Rifle Association, the proposed Georgia legislation garnered much media attention, as incidents involving firearms at colleges continue to escalate. The legislation applies to licensed individuals, over the age of 21. Portions of the legislation prohibited firearms near on-campus housing, and sports and recreational facilities, but imposed no ban near university child daycare centers.
A self-proclaimed gun-rights supporter, Governor Deal believes the legislation would not enhance overall safety on campus, commenting, “From the early days of our nation and state, colleges have been treated as sanctuaries of learning where firearms have not been allowed. To depart from such time-honored protections should require overwhelming justification.” In light of the veto, the Governor asked the Georgia Board of Regents to find methods, and procedures to elevate campus security.
With the bill’s passage, by the Georgia legislature in March, the Governor questioned why the on-campus housing and sports facilities mandate did not include the university child day care centers. Not getting an answer to his liking, he directed state lawmakers to revise the proposed legislation, including the daycare centers. When the legislation reached his desk for his signature, the requested daycare inclusion did not appear,resulting in his veto.
With increasing on-campus crime rates, the bill’s supporters stressed that students have a right to defend themselves. The Georgia Board of Regents and other critics cited that Georgia state law does not mandate individuals complete firearms training course to be eligible for a concealed firearms permit. The lack of training, critics say, heightens the potential danger, to young children at the university day care centers.
This is the second Republican-backed legislation that didn’t get the nod from Governor Nathan Deal. Earlier in the year, Deal declined to sign a religious-rights bill, which critics claimed would have fostered lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender discrimination.
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