Georgia Campus Carry Bill Signed By Gov. Nathan Deal

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA) signed HB 280 which provides for a limited campus carry at public institutions of higher education. He had vetoed another campus carry bill in the preceding session of the Georgia General Assembly because of his “concerns” about sensitive places. His signing statement explains his opposition to that bill.

The press release from the Governor’s Office goes into detail about the bill and the excepted places. The one part that would concern me as a faculty or staff member at any of these institutions is not that adult students with carry permits might be carry firearms on campus. Rather it is that the prohibition against firearms in any faculty, staff, or administrative office. This means a faculty member could not protect him or herself in their own office.Their SEC rival University of Tennessee doesn’t allow generalized campus carry but does allow full-time faculty and staff to carry on campus.

From Gov. Deal’s Office:

May 4, 2017

Gov. Nathan Deal today signed HB 280, which permits weapons carry license holders to carry firearms in specific and limited areas on college campuses.

This legislation addressed major concerns voiced by the governor last year regarding HB 859, which permitted a weapons carry license holder to carry a concealed weapon into certain areas of a college campus that had previously been prohibited. HB 859 failed, however, to address Deal’s concerns regarding the prohibition of firearms in “sensitive places,” including campus preschools, disciplinary hearings, or faculty and administrative offices. As a result, the legislation was vetoed.

This year, the General Assembly overwhelmingly passed HB 280, which maintains the same restrictions present in HB 859. It also addresses the areas of campus over which Deal previously raised concerns, along with additional areas of college campuses where weapons would not be permitted.

“It is altogether appropriate that weapons not be allowed in sensitive areas on college campuses, and I appreciate the thoughtful consideration given by the General Assembly in expanding these excluded areas within a college campus in this year’s bill,” said Deal. “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. Unfortunately, in parts of the state, the path to higher education travels through dangerous territory.

“At the present time, assailants can, and do, target these students knowing full well that their victims are not permitted to carry protection, even those who are weapons carry license holders, because they are either going to or coming from a campus where no weapons are allowed. 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.

“As this legislation is more narrowly tailored as to exclude areas on a college campus, I’ve signed HB 280.”

HB 280 prohibits the carrying of a concealed weapon by anyone, including weapons carry license holders, on the following areas of a college campus:

  • Buildings or property used for athletic sporting events;
  • Student housing, including but not limited to dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses;
  • Any preschool or childcare space;
  • Any room or space being used for classes related to a college and career academy or other specialized school;
  • Any room or space used for classes in which high school students are enrolled through a dual enrollment program, including, but not limited to, classes related to the “Move on When Ready Act”;
  • Any faculty, staff, or administrative offices; and,
  • Rooms where disciplinary proceedings are conducted.

Campus Carry For F-T Employees In TN Goes Live July 1

When the Tennessee legislature voted earlier this year to allow campus carry on state university campuses, they limited it to full-time employees of the schools. Moreover, in an effort to appease the governor and university administrators, they put the liability for accidental/negligent discharges on the employee.

Liston Matthews, the Knox Gun Guy and a retired college instructor himself, has done yeoman’s work in getting details from the UT Police Department on what’s required and the necessary forms.

Desiring to get the straight facts, I emailed Lt. Mike Richardson of the University of Tennessee Police Department. I also wanted the form that UT employees must complete in order to comply:

June 17, 2016
Subject: Notification form for faculty/staff handgun carry
Dear Lt. Richardson:

I am working on an article for my blog, about the new law effective July 1. I know that they are required to notify UTPD in writing of their intent to carry.

Is there a specified format?
Is specific information required?
Is there a form they are required to complete?
Are they required to register their handgun with UTPD, or only supply information about themselves?

Thank you for your help?

Lt. Richardson replied with inline answers:

Jun 17 (4 days ago)

Is there a specified format?
There is a registration form that must be completed at UTPD and witnessed by a commissioned officer.

Is specific information required?
The information is specific to the employee.

Is there a form they are required to complete?
See first question and response.

Are they required to register their handgun with UTPD, or only supply information about themselves?
The full-time faculty/staff must only register themselves and their permit number, not the handgun itself.
You can also visit our department website, which should answer any other questions you may have.

Lt. Mike Richardson

Notice that Lt. Richardson (no relation) mentioned the form required to be completed. However, he did not send a copy with his responses. It took a bit of back and forth before Liston was able to get that form. Perhaps it was the mention of his attorney that shook it loose. You can see the form here.

Nashville’s The Tennesseean has a long story on both the bill and the reaction around Tennessee campuses to the coming change. For a large newspaper it was both fairly accurate and fairly evenhanded. I recommend reading it.

Thanks to Liston for his work in prying loose the form and answers from the UTPD.

Campus Carry Updates In Texas And Georgia

Two events in Texas and Georgia illustrate the advance of campus carry.

In the first event, University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves said he “would bow to state law” regarding campus carry. He adopted the recommendations of the Campus Carry Working Group who has advised him on how to comply with the law. His decision will allow licensed concealed carry holders to carry in classrooms at the University of Texas. However, he will still work to ban firearms from most on-campus residential halls.

From the Austin Statesman:

“I do not believe handguns belong on a university campus, so this decision has been the greatest challenge of my presidency to date,” said Fenves, who has led the Austin flagship campus since June 3. “I empathize with the many faculty members, staffers, students and parents of students who signed petitions, sent emails and letters, and organized to ban guns from campus and especially classrooms.

“However, as president, I have an obligation to uphold the law. Under the law, I cannot adopt a policy that has the general effect of excluding licensed concealed handguns from campus. I agree with the working group that a classroom exclusion would have this effect.”

Fenves is confident his decision will stand up to challenges. However, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has previously issued a non-binding advisory memo stating that dorms shouldn’t be off-limits to firearms.

Moving on to Georgia, the House Public Safety and Homeland Security approved HB 859 which would allow concealed carry in school buildings including classrooms. However, the bill excludes carry from dorms, sorority and fraternity houses, and athletic facilities. The bill was passed out of committee on a 10-3 vote and now goes to the House Rules Committee before it is voted on by the entire Georgia House of Representatives.

If the Georgia bill passes the House, it will go on to the Georgia Senate. Not being a Georgian, I’m not sure of the bill’s chances in the Senate. That body did remove campuses from an expansion of carry locations in a 2014 bill.

H/T Georgia Carry

Florida Carry Calls Out Everytown’s Astroturfing

It seems the Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors has been running an advertisement that seeks to blur the lines and confuse the issue about campus carry in Florida. They are touting their initiative as “Backpacks, Not Bullets”. By blurring the lines, Everytown would have you believe that 20 or 30-something PhD student is the same as a 5-year old kid in kindergarten and both should be treated the same.

This is their ad.

Everytown is very slick using Wayne LaPierre’s words about firearms in K-12 schools as if he was talking about FSU or the University of Florida instead.

Here is what Florida Carry has to say about it. They point out the obvious and explain what the two bills in question would do. They also note that an armed home invasion took place on the University of North Florida’s campus this past weekend.

TALLAHASSEE, FL, March 10, 2015 — A new anti-gun advertisement produced by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s astroturf propaganda efforts, Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Bloomberg’s attempt to sell Floridians magical elixirs to keep them safe amounts to little more than wishful thinking, wild imagination and frankly, snake oil.

Rather than addressing the realities of today’s on and off campus life, the release instead touts a new initiative – “Backpacks, Not Bullets”. It goes on to list the five bills dealing with school carry. Two of the bills deal with college/university campuses, and appear to be the focus of the Bloomberg release. Yet by combining the two disparate topics, the ad attempts to confuse viewers into seeing one issue – kids and guns together. That’s right, according to Everytown/MDA, a 25 or 30 year old grad student is no different than a five year old who has just mastered the shoelace!

FACT: Adults are NOT kids. Colleges and universities are NOT elementary schools. HB 4005 and SB 176 would simply remove colleges and universities from the prohibited places list for licensed adult carriers, who can legally carry practically everywhere else in the state, and who do so with more responsibility than even law enforcement according to state government data. Licensees are prohibited by law from being able to protect themselves, yet the criminals who commit violent crimes on campus don’t seem to mind the fact that carry without a license is a felony.

FACT: Colleges and universities are not as safe as one might think. According to the US Department of Education, 392 violent crimes (homicide, aggravated assault, forcible sexual assault, robbery, and arson) occurred on Florida campuses and in on-campus housing in 2013. Almost 400 felons didn’t care that what they did was illegal, and almost 400 victims were denied the potential of avoiding or stopping that crime. And this doesn’t count what happens in off-campus university housing, frat houses, or in the neighborhoods immediately surrounding campuses in the state. What does Everytown/MDA say about the safety and security of those “children”?

Just this weekend an armed home invasion attack took place in campus housing at the University of North Florida. The armed attacker was out on bail when the attack occurred. Despite being too young to have a concealed carry license, despite being prohibited from possessing guns pending trial, and despite the campus gun ban… The only people who followed the law were the only people who didn’t have a chance to defend themselves.

This isn’t about allowing guns on campus. Guns are already ON CAMPUS, in the hands of those who don’t care about laws or victims.

Her Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

Shannon Watts is an out and out hypocrite. She posted the tweet below yesterday. It links to a story arguing against concealed carry by legal concealed carry holders on college and university campuses. It is obviously her position and that of her organization.

I don’t believe in visiting the sins of the parents upon the child. I won’t name Mrs. Watts older daughter nor will I say which university she attends. However, I will say that the university at which Mrs. Watts’ daughter attends has legal concealed carry on campus and has had it for a number of years. This is information that I gleaned from social media postings by the daughter. I believe it to be both accurate and relevant.

Thus, while Mrs. Watts’ daughter attends a university where young women that are age 21 or older and have a concealed carry license are able to protect themselves from thugs, criminals, and rapists, she does not want your daughters (or for that matter, your sons) to have that same privilege.

That is the height of hypocrisy.

UPDATE: Students for Concealed Carry on Campus have called Shannon Watts out on this as well. Since one of the state’s she bemoans a push for carry on campus is Colorado, they ask whether she is dishonest or oblivious given the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling that public universities cannot ban carry on campus.

Shades Of Gregg Marmalard

Reading a story about the veto of a student campus carry resolution at Baylor University, I couldn’t help but think of the character Gregg Marmalard in the movie Animal House. Marmalard was the student body president at Faber College who did the bidding of Dean Wormer in trying to get rid of Delta House.

The Student Senate at Baylor had passed a resolution on September 18th urging that those legally licensed to carry concealed be allowed to do so on campus. The sponsor of the resolution, senior Gannon McCahill said it would make the campus a safer place and noted that people can legally carry most everywhere else.

However, this resolution was vetoed by Baylor Student Body President Dominic Edwards on Thursday and thus won’t be presented to the university administration. Edwards contended the Student Senate did not properly seek in put from students, faculty, and staff. The move to override the veto failed to achieve the requisite two-thirds needed.

It seems that this is not the first veto by Edwards of a student senate resolution.

McCahill also aired frustration about the ability of the senate to push measures forward, noting that controversial issues tend to be “vetoed and pushed aside so the administration doesn’t have to deal with it.”

The student senate last fall approved a measure to drop “homosexual acts” out of the university’s sexual misconduct policy, but the body could not override a presidential veto.

I don’t think the Baylor University President and Chancellor really needs to be protected from a little controversy. This is quite minor compared to what Ken Starr has dealt with in the past.

Quote Of The Day

In an anti-conceal carry opinion piece written for the Daily Nebraskan, the student paper at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Amanda Keenan has this howler:

A final argument against concealed carry on campus is the level of discomfort generated from having a gun around. People go to institutions of higher learning mainly to get an education. Allowing guns in classrooms would prove to be a distraction more than they would be a necessity. Students would lose their concentration during tests and stare aimlessly as the lights reflected off the steel of a .57 magnum.

Not that college students don’t already stare aimlessly during exams but seeing the lights reflecting off the steel of a .57 magnum must really be something. Imagine a pistol that makes the .500 Smith and Wesson – currently the most powerful production handgun cartridge around – look puny. Wow!

I have a serious suggestion for young Ms. Keenan. The next time she plans to write on guns and gun issues I would suggest that she check out the NSSF’s “Writer’s Guide to Firearms and Ammunition.” It would help her look a little less foolish even if she decides to stick with her backward ideas on campus carry.

Crime On Campus

I received an email yesterday from CollegeStats.Org about crime on college campuses. I was a little skeptical until I read the article in question.

It was fair and made excellent use of graphics to get the point across that the number of targeted assaults on college campuses has more than doubled from when I was in college in the 1970s until now.The article breaks down where you are more likely to be attacked and with what weapon.

From CollegeStats.Org

The author of the article then examined the status of bills in ten states that would allow students or faculty to have a firearm on campus. I found the article well written and full of useful information.

You can find the full article on campus crime here.

H/T Shanna Houston

Jim Manley On The Win For Campus Carry In Colorado

Jim Manley of the Mountain States Legal Foundation was interviewed on Monday by Cam Edwards about the Colorado Supreme Court decision in favor of campus carry. In that decision, the court said that the ban on concealed carry at the University of Colorado violated the state’s Concealed Carry Act.

I think Jim made a very good point regarding campus carry in Colorado when he said that they have had almost ten years of experience with it at Colorado State University and have had no problems. That is something the gun prohibitionists don’t want you to know.

Or You Could Just Allow Campus Carry

TV station WAVE-3 in Louisville, Kentucky ran a story this week on self-protection for women. They wanted to know if some of the “secret weapons” for women were worth the money and they asked a University of Louisville police officer for his opinion. Some he liked and some he didn’t.

I do agree with his suggestion to be aware of your surroundings and to avoid getting into risky situations. That is good advice for anyone. However, neither the story nor Officer Graham mentioned the one thing sure to make a rapist think twice – a legally concealed handgun.