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Opponents of the controversial “campus carry” bill couldn’t wait to exhale. Advocates of the bill can’t wait to rip into Gov. Nathan Deal.

Deal has vetoed the campus carry bill, or HB 859, which would have legalized the carrying of firearms on all college campuses in Georgia, citing that barring guns will increase student safety in the state.

In a statement the governor said:

Since much of the motivation for HB 859 is the commission of crimes involving the use of firearms on college campuses, 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.

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.

Supporters of the passage of the bill were outraged. Critics of Deal’s veto, most particularly The National Rifle Association, were quick to rip into the governor:

“I commend the governor for vetoing the bill. We pointed out many flaws in this piece of legislation during the session and hope that this will put the matter the rest,” said Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson.

Deal had plenty of supporters who were grateful the governor shot down the bill.

Lindsey Donovan, leader of the Georgia chapter of Moms Demand Action:

“This veto is thanks to thousands of Georgians who have spoken out and rallied against guns on campus. The leadership shown by Governor Deal with this veto should stand as proof to other elected officials that this is not a partisan issue and that they too can stand up to the gun lobby. I’m thrilled that our voices were heard and that the will of the gun lobby no longer goes unchecked in the state of Georgia.”

The University System of Georgia also thanked Deal for the veto.

“The vast majority of our faculty, staff, parents and students are concerned about firearms on campus. As leaders of the University System of Georgia, we must provide the highest levels of safety and security to the 318,000 students we serve,” read a statement from the System.

The Democratic Party of Georgia issued a carefully-worded statement devoid of much specific mention of Deal.

“Georgia Democrats hope that next year’s session will yield more productive legislation aimed at young people than the election year stunts we were given by the Georgia GOP in 2016,” said executive director Rebecca DeHart.

 

Photo: Ricky Simone Instagram

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