Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia has vetoed HB 859, which would authorize the carry of concealed weapons by concealed carry permit holder on Georgia campuses. The bill was very popular in the legislature, passing with wide margins. The bill passed the House 113 to 59, and the Senate 37 to 17.
From Governor Deal's statement on the veto at georiga.gov:
HB 859 seeks to amend O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127.1, which relates to the carrying of weapons within school safety zones. It would add an exception to the prohibition of carrying or possessing a weapon in such school zones, to “any licensed holder when he or she is in any building or on real property owned or leased to any public technical school, vocational school, college or university or other public institution of postsecondary education,” except for “buildings or property used for athletic sporting events or student housing, including, but not limited to fraternity and sorority houses…”The Governor then goes into a long and involved justification for his actions, which amount to as statement that it is not unconstitutional to ban the carry of arms on colleges, and we have done it up to now.
Some supporters of HB 859 contend that this legislation is justified under the provisions of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution which provides in part that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Identical words are contained in Article I, Section, I, Paragraph VIII of the Constitution of the State of Georgia. It would be incorrect to conclude, however, that certain restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms are unconstitutional.
He gives no indication why colleges should be any different from the city just across the street from their boundary. He does not acknowledge that concealed carry permit holders are less likely to abuse the right to carry than are police officers, and are far more law abiding than the general population.
Governor Deal then goes further, to propose that increased the criminal penalties for unauthorized possession of firearms on campus:
I suggest to the General Assembly that it consider making the unauthorized possession and/or use of a firearm on a college campus an act that carries an increased penalty or an enhanced sentence for the underlying crime.I doubt that Governor Deal expects to run for office in Georgia again.
He quotes a decision from a meeting that Thomas Jefferson attended in 1824, setting up rules for the University of Virginia, but ignores a quote from Jefferson to his nephew in 1785, who has been sent off to school, where he advises Peter Carr to
"Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks."Which he suggested should take up about two hours of every day.
The upper education lobby is a very powerful force in most legislatures. In "progressive" theory, "experts" are supposed to tell the people what to think and what policies to follow. Those "experts" are often from places of higher education. In practice, the "experts" are carefully chosen to advance the agenda that the "progressives" want to advance. If other experts such as John Lott, disagree, they are minimalized.
Campus carry is likely to come to Georgia, but not this year. The legislature passed the legislation too late for a plausible veto override.
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