A proposed "campus carry" law that would allow permit holders to carry concealed weapons on public college and university campuses has drawn widespread opposition not only from administrators, but UGA faculty and staff as well.
"As far as I am aware, the faculty agree with all of the university presidents and the Board of Regents, but if legislators won't listen to them, why should we think that we will have any more of an impact?" one UGA faculty member told Flagpole this morning.
But there is now hope that the law may at least be watered down. Gov. Nathan Deal, who had previously indicated that he would sign House Bill 859—which passed the Senate on Friday, landing on his desk—is now backing away. He called on legislators this afternoon to address concerns about the bill and hinted he could veto it otherwise.
“As a lifetime defender and staunch supporter of Second Amendment rights, Gov. Deal has signed every pro-gun bill to reach his desk," reads a statement issued by his office. "However, he believes legitimate points have been made in regards to certain aspects of the ‘campus carry’ bill, and he calls on the General Assembly to address these concerns in related legislation before Sine Die.
"Specifically, these areas of concern include dually enrolled K-12 students who leave school to attend classes at a university or technical college campus, as well as daycare centers on these same campuses. Deal also believes the governing boards of universities and technical colleges should have the discretion to set reasonable rules regarding disciplinary hearings and faculty and administrative offices.
"Addressing these issues is an important step in ensuring the safety and freedoms of students, faculty and staff in our institutions of higher learning throughout our state.”
Lawmakers don't have much time. Sine Die, the last day of the 40-day session, is scheduled for Friday. Complicating matters, Crossover Day (the deadline for a bill to pass to one chamber and move onto the other) has already passed. But a bill amending HB 859 could still be attached to another bill that's already passed either the House or the Senate.