Days after Georgia lawmakers approved a bill lifting a weapons ban on the state’s public college campuses, Republican Gov. Nathan Deal called Monday for the General Assembly to address opponents’ concerns.
Deal’s office released a statement asking for fixes and indicated that he could refuse to sign the so-called “campus carry” without quick action from lawmakers.
“As a lifetime defender and staunch supporter of Second Amendment rights, Gov. Deal has signed every pro-gun bill to reach his desk,” the statement began. “However, he believes legitimate points have been made in regards to certain aspects of the ‘campus carry’ bill and he calls on the General Assembly to address these concerns in related legislation.”
The statement says Deal wants lawmakers to act before wrapping this year’s session. Lawmakers are set to adjourn for the year March 24 and have only four working days remaining to put bills to a floor vote.
There are legislative options that would allow lawmakers to make Deal’s requested changes, but House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, indicated in a statement that the governor should take the lead.
“I certainly take any concerns Gov. Deal raises seriously, but now that the bill is on his desk and with only four days remaining in the legislative session, time is of the essence,” Ralston said. “I am sure his team will forward specific recommendations to allow adequate time for consideration.”
The state Senate on Friday sent Deal the bill allowing licensed gun owners who are 21 and older to carry concealed weapons on public college campuses.
Athletic facilities and student housing, including fraternity and sorority houses, are exempt.
Supporters, including the National Rifle Association and the nonprofit pro-gun group Georgia Carry, argued that gun-free campuses are targets and said people licensed to carry had a right to defend themselves while on the property.