ATLANTA – The Latest on Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's veto of a bill that would have allowed concealed handguns on college and universities (all times local):
When Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal recently vetoed bills allowing guns on college campuses and shielding religious people who deny people services based on their faith, he was directly bucking his fellow Republican lawmakers, who overwhelmingly supported the proposals, and possibly losing points with his conservative political base.
Why would he do such a thing?
Observers say the answer may lie at least partly in term limits and corporate persuasion.
Deal never needs to win over the Republican base again. Georgia's Constitution limits governors to two consecutive terms, and Deal, 73, plans to retire at the end of his second and final term.
Charles Bullock, a political science professor at the University of Georgia, said the term limits, coupled with the outpour of opposition on both issues, likely factored into the governor's decision to veto the bills.
Some Georgia lawmakers are voicing safety concerns after Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a bill allowing those with permits to carry concealed handguns on college and university campuses.
Rep. Alan Powell, who chairs the House Public Safety and Homeland Security subcommittee, said Wednesday that it's more important now than it's ever been for those who pass a background check to be able to have a permit and carry their weapon. Powell declined to discuss the governor's reason for the veto, after other conservative governors have signed similar legislation.
Sen. Lindsey Tippins, a Republican from Marietta, echoed Powell's concerns on public safety, but was overall pleased with the governor's decision to enact education reform legislation.
Despite Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's veto of a bill allowing concealed handguns on college and university campuses, conservative lawmakers say the fight is far from over.
Sponsoring Rep. Rick Jasperse, a Republican from Jasper, said he was disappointed in the veto, primarily because of the need for increased safety on campuses. The bill would have allowed anyone age 21 and up to carry a concealed handgun on campus with a state-issued permit. Other states have enacted similar laws, with neighboring Tennessee as the most recent example.
Jasperse said an armed robbery on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus Tuesday highlighted the need for this legislation, while showing that police do not have the ability to protect everyone on campus at all times.
Georgia's Republican governor rejected the two top priorities of a legislature controlled by his own party this year, defying election year politics in a deep red state.
Gov. Nathan Deal, in his second and final term, vetoed legislation shielding opponents of gay marriage just days after the close of the legislative session in March. But he waited until Tuesday, the last possible day to issue vetoes, to block another bill that would have allowed people over 21 and with state permits to carry concealed handguns on college campuses.
Both proposals were popular with the majority of Georgia's Republican lawmakers. But opponents aggressively lobbied Deal to block the measures.
It's not clear how the decisions will shape Deal's relationship with the legislature. Supporters of both bills have vowed to try again.