Georgia Governor Nathan Deal [official website] on Tuesday vetoed [veto statements] a bill [materials] that would have allowed the concealed carrying of handguns on college campuses. The bill, if approved, would have allowed anyone 21 or older with a concealed carry permit to have a concealed handgun on a college campus, adding an exception to the prohibition of possessing a weapon in a school zone. The governor in his statement said that it would be wrong to conclude that applying certain restrictions to the Second Amendment right to bear arms was unconstitutional, citing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller [JURIST report] recognizing schools and government buildings as “sensitive places.” He further stated that the concept of college campuses being gun free zones was a deep rooted one within the state. The governor had previously requested [AP report] follow up bills regarding concerns related to HB 859, such as access to day care centers, after HB 859 was passed in the legislature, but members denied the request.
Gun control [JURIST backgrounder] and the Second Amendment continue to be controversial national topics, and gun awareness has risen in the wake of recent shootings across the nation. Last month Idaho Governor CL “Butch” Otter signed [JURIST report] a bill that made it legal throughout the state for Idaho residents over 21 years of age to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. Earlier that week Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed [JURIST report] two proposed bills that would eliminate restrictions on the possession of firearms in or around state office buildings. Also that month the West Virginia Senate voted [JURIST report] to override Governor Earl Ry Tomblin’s veto of a bill allowing civilians 21 and over to carry concealed weapons without a permit. In December the US Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia Circuit vacated [JURIST report] a lower court ruling that found that a DC gun law requiring a concealed carry permit outside of the home may violate the Constitution. In October Maine’s revised concealed carry law went into effect [JURIST report], allowing legal gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit. Earlier that month a federal appeals court upheld [JURIST report] Connecticut and New York gun control legislation that ban semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines.