It looks like campus carry is going to get new life, at least according to Speaker David Ralston. Last legislative session, Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed just a few bills of the hundreds the legislature passed, the campus carry measure among them.
This earned him quite a bit of ire from conservatives and gun advocates at the time, and now it’s being reported that Speaker David Ralston is looking to revive the measure.
“Let’s put together a new bill,” Ralston said in an interview with WABE, “Maybe address some of the concerns that were raised, and take additional measures necessary to protect our constitutional rights under the Second Amendment, which is what I’m all about.”
Deal’s objections to the bill centered on guns potentially being allowed into sensitive spaces, by anyone who walks onto a college campus.
His veto statement also highlighted the long held tradition against bringing deadly weapons onto university campuses. He cited the founding fathers, and other such beloved figures. Deal concluded the veto statement, saying:
“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.”
Deal sent hand written notes to both Speaker Ralston and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, imploring them to amend last year’s campus carry. However, those changes never happened.
Last round, Ralston was unwilling to make changes. He’s indicated little willingness to do so this round either.
“I’m not going to support a tweak that’s going to open up a bill to looking like a piece of Swiss cheese,” said Ralston in his recent WABE interview. “There may be some other protections that we can talk about that we can even have a stronger bill than we had last year.”
Democrats are also gearing up for a fight over gun access. Atlanta democrat Mary Margaret Oliver has prefiled a bill banning assault weapons.
“I’m not sure there’s a compromise on campus carry,” Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur), said in an interview with WXIA.”But there are a lot of other issues relating to guns. The rights versus the control issue. And I’m looking for an open bipartisan intellectually honest discussion.”
Democrats in the Senate sponsored a similar measure last legislative session, although it ultimately gained little traction.
Gov. Deal has, historically, run a tight ship, and largely faced a fairly cooperative legislature. Not only is campus carry an issue that Republicans have already shown a willingness to be defiant on, but as a lame duck Governor — who just lost a major ballot initiative he’d been backing — it’s unclear how the balance of power will play out this legislative session.