By Bronte Price, PoliticKING
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the "campus carry" legislation on Tuesday which would have allowed college students to carry concealed guns onto campuses.
Second Amendment activists and conservatives cast House Bill 859 framed as a measure for students and members of school communities to protect themselves.
Opponents of the legislation including University System of Georgia chancellor and presidents of the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech. They argue that the measure would make it harder for campus police to protect the community.
— The Red & Black (@redandblack) May 3, 2016
Deal said that 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.
"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."
University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank M. Huckaby told the house Judiciary Committee that he understood both sides of the argument but he still opposed the legislation. He said Georgia's university students already have protection from well-trained police forces, whose jobs could be made more difficult if the bill becomes law.
"Our campus police officers will tell you that allowing students to have firearms on campus makes their job extremely challenging, particularly if an extreme emergency were to occur," he said.
R.E.M. front man Michael Stipe wrote an op-ed for USA Today, discussing how he met his bandmates on the University of Georgia campus and said he worried how life on campuses might change if students were allowed to bring guns.
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