Governor Deal Vetoed Another Guns on Campus Bill in 2016; Polling Shows Allowing Guns on Campus is Overwhelmingly Opposed by Georgians
ATLANTA – The Georgia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement today in response to the Governor’s decision to sign HB 280, a bill that forces Georgia’s public colleges and universities to allow guns on campus, including in classrooms and at most campus events, including places where alcohol is served or consumed. The bill will even allow 18-year-olds from other states to carry hidden, loaded handguns on campus. Nearly 80 percent of Georgians oppose allowing guns on college campuses.
Gun rights activists in Georgia have been referring to HB 280 as “compromise carry,” as a reference to the number of carve outs that were added to the bill before it passed the legislature. The carve outs reflect specific concerns raised by Governor Deal during the 2016 legislative session. Unlike last year’s bill, this bill prohibits the carrying of guns in on-campus daycare and childcare facilities, in any room or space used for a college or career academy, in any room or space where high school students are present through a dual-enrollment program, in faculty, staff, or administrative offices and in places where disciplinary hearings are conducted. It also maintains restrictions on carrying guns in student housing – including fraternity and sorority houses—and at athletic events, which were included in last year’s legislation. In vetoing last year’s guns on campus bill, Governor Deal went far beyond these particular concerns, stating that he did not find that the justification existed to force Georgia’s colleges to allow guns and referring to universities as “sanctuaries of learning where firearms have not been allowed.”
So far this year, guns on campus bills have failed in four states: Kentucky, New Mexico, West Virginia and Wyoming. Last year, guns on campus bills failed in 17 of the 18 states in which they were introduced.
STATEMENT FROM LINDSEY DONOVAN, VOLUNTEER CHAPTER LEADER WITH THE GEORGIA CHAPTER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA:
“Signing this guns on campus bill is an irresponsible and reckless decision. Campus leaders and law enforcement don’t want this. The majority of Georgians don’t want this. In fact, according to the words of our own Governor Deal just last year, he said guns on campus is a dangerous idea that won’t improve public safety. This flip-flop will be what Georgians remember about our Governor for years to come – that he bent to the Washington gun lobby that came to town for a couple of days for a convention rather than listening to his own constituents and campus stakeholders. This will be the legacy he leaves behind.
“While I am frustrated by our Governor’s decision, it’s also clear that we’re gaining ground in Georgia. While this is still a bad bill, the work of our volunteers and other Georgians to raise objections has led this bill to being better than what the gun lobby wanted. The final version of this proposal exempts guns from certain sensitive areas on our campuses including daycares, dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses. The changes from last year’s bill stand as proof that Georgians will not be silenced by out-of-state groups attempting to dictate gun policies in our state. Legislators may be fighting for gun lobby contributions, but I’m fighting for the safety of my family in the state that I love. We will outlast them.”