Gov. Nathan Deal has heard from hundreds of students, faculty and voters on all sides of the debate over “campus carry” legislation. Now, he can add R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe to the list.
The Athens vocalist penned an op-ed in Monday’s USA Today urging Deal to veto House Bill 859, which would allow anyone 21 or older with a weapons license to carry a gun anywhere on a public college or university campus, except for inside four places: dormitories, fraternities and sorority houses, and at athletic events. He has until next Tuesday to decide.
Deal has rightfully expressed concerns about how such a law would endanger children in daycares on college campuses and how it would affect Georgia’s acclaimed Move On When Ready program, which is utilized by thousands of high school students who take classes on college campuses. Parents of high school students and children in the daycares echoed Deal’s concerns and asked him to veto the bill for the safety of their children.
Everyone in this fight believes they’re fighting to make colleges safer. But a loud gun lobby shouldn’t outweigh the voices of people across the country — 78 percent of students, 95 percent of college presidents and 89 percent of police chiefs — who say they don’t want this. It’s the students, faculty, and staff who live and work on college campuses who should get to decide something as important as whether or not to allow guns on campus. It’s their voices that should matter most.
I hope the governor listens to his constituents and does what’s in the best interest of all citizens of Georgia by vetoing this dangerous bill.