Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed controversial “campus carry” legislation on Tuesday that would have allowed college students to carry concealed guns onto campuses with some restrictions.
Conservatives and Second Amendment activists cast House Bill 859 as a crucial measure for members of the school community to protect themselves. Opponents, including the University System of Georgia chancellor and presidents of the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, said the measure would make it harder for campus police to protect the community.
If gun violence on college campuses was the motivation for the bill, the General Assembly should consider stiffer penalties for unauthorized possession or use of firearms on college campuses, Deal said.
“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,” Deal said in a statement. “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. I do not find that such justification exists.”