Georgia's conservative governor vetoes a bill that would have let students carry guns on public college campuses

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a bill on Tuesday that would have allowed college students to carry concealed firearms on public school campuses.

The veto comes less than a month after Deal — considered one of the most conservative governors in the country — vetoed a religious-liberty bill championed by Republican state lawmakers.

It also comes one day after a similar, albeit more restrictive campus-carry bill became law in Tennessee without Gov. Bill Haslam’s signature.

Writing about the campus-carry bill on Tuesday, Gov. 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 wrote in his veto message, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Conservatives and Second-Amendment advocates had framed the bill as a crucial measure to protect members of the school community, ostensibly with consideration of recent mass shootings that have happened on college campuses.

But legislators ignored Deal’s last-minute plea for specific changes to the bill, leading to public pressure for the bill’s veto.

“At a time when our Second Amendment rights are under attack, I believed and still believe that it is very important that we do all that is necessary and proper to strengthen our constitutional protections,” said House Speaker David Ralston, according to CNN.

“Georgians should not be required to give up their constitutional rights when they set foot on a college campus.”

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