For the Fourth Year in a Row, the Georgia Chapter of Moms Demand Action Stands with College Students, Faculty and Parents to Defeat Guns on Campus Bill
Governor Deal Vetoed Legislation Similar to HB 280 in 2016; Polling Shows Allowing Guns on Campus is Overwhelmingly Opposed by Georgians – and the Majority of Voters Don’t Want Legislators Wasting Time on the Issue
ATLANTA – The Georgia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the statement below in response to the House passing HB 280, which would force Georgia’s public colleges and universities to allow guns on campus, including in classrooms, disciplinary hearings and at most campus events, including places where alcohol is served or consumed. The bill even allows 18-year-olds from other states to carry hidden, loaded handguns on campus. Similar guns on campus legislation has failed to become law for the past three years, notably receiving a veto from Governor Deal in May 2016. Nearly 80 percent of Georgians oppose allowing guns on campus and the governor heard from more than 30,000 Georgians last spring asking him to veto the bill.
STATEMENT FROM AMY JEFFS, VOLUNTEER WITH THE GEORGIA CHAPTER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA:
“Legislators know that what they just passed is a dangerous proposal that is nearly identical to last year’s version. HB 280 would even allow some out-of-state 18-year-olds to carry guns on college campuses and it would allow guns in places like disciplinary hearings and tailgates. The research shows that guns on campus won’t make us any safer – it will only up the chances of unintentional shootings and disagreements turning deadly. When this bill comes to the Senate for consideration, I hope our Senators heed the words of Governor Deal, who eloquently stated in his 2016 veto of guns on campus that, ‘colleges have been treated as sanctuaries of learning where firearms have not been allowed’ since our nation’s founding. Governor Deal is right that changing that standard ‘should require overwhelming justification’ and that justification simply does not exist.”
Last year, Everytown and the Georgia chapter of Moms Demand Action were part of a statewide effort to urge the Governor to veto guns on campus. On the last day of the legislative session, volunteers with the Georgia chapter of Moms Demand Action helped its allies deliver more than 20,000 signatures to the governor of Georgians opposing the bill. The Moms Demand Action volunteers worked on behalf of the more than 120,000 Everytown supporters in the state and in conjunction with campus leaders to deliver the simple message that the safety of college communities should come before the interests of the gun lobby. During the campaign, Everytown also launched a television ad calling on the Governor to reject this dangerous legislation and placed multiple full-page ads in the Augusta Chronicle during The Masters.
Since the veto in May 2016, further research has been released that proves that guns on campus only add needless risk to college communities. A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University showed that gun-carrying by civilians does not improve safety or reduce crime, while simultaneously showing that college campuses and students on them display characteristics that make the presence of guns on campus potentially dangerous.
In 2016, Georgia was one of seventeen states that rejected legislation to force colleges to allow guns on campus. Texas and Idaho are two of the most recent of only nine states to force colleges to allow guns on campus. Just weeks after Idaho’s guns on campus bill went into effect, a professor shot himself in the foot during class. In Texas, renowned professors have announced that they will leave the UT system to take jobs in other states, while many of the educators who have remained in Texas have said that the law is undermining professors’ ability to teach.