Gov. Nathan Deal has approved the "campus carry" bill which would allow licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons on public college campuses.
On Monday, Deal had said he wasn't "satisfied" with local law enforcement efforts to protect students around college campuses. In his statement after signing the bill, the governor echoed these remarks.
“While HB 280 addresses the rights and restrictions relating to weapons carry license holders on a college campus, it in effect may have greater significance for students who are going to or coming from a campus," Deal said in a statement. "Unfortunately, in parts of the state, the path to higher education travels through dangerous territory."
"In recent years, we’ve witnessed college students fall victim to violent attacks in or while traveling to libraries and academic buildings, and while traveling to and from their homes to class," Deal said.
The governor vetoed a similar measure last year, stating concerns that guns could be brought into places on campus including day cares, disciplinary hearings and faculty and administrative offices. The new bill addressed his concerns by setting more limitations on those areas.
After the bill was signed, University System of Georgia Board of Regents Chancellor Steve Wrigley, who had previously opposed the "campus carry" bill, issued a letter to the system’s campus presidents, provosts and police chiefs stating that they would begin issuing implementation guidelines.
“We recognize that many have strong feelings about this new law,” Wrigley said in the letter. “It is important that we all work together across our campuses to implement the new law appropriately and continue to provide a top-quality education to our students.”