Nathan Deal Vetoes Campus-Carry in Georgia, Citing Founding Fathers

These are the opening paragraphs of an article that has been published by The Trace. The article, written by Olivia Li, is titled “Thomas Jefferson and James Madison Didn’t Want Guns on Their College Campuses”:

“Governor Nathan Deal rejected a bill on Tuesday that would have allowed eligible students in Georgia to carry concealed weapons at public universities. In a lengthy veto statement, Deal said he found “enlightening evidence” for his position in the views of pair of Founding Fathers who, nearly two centuries ago, opened a college where guns would not be allowed.

“In October of 1824, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison attended a board meeting of the University of Virginia, which would open the following spring. Jefferson and Madison had spent not a little time thinking about individual liberties. But minutes from the meeting show that their new school would not extend the right to bear arms to its red-brick grounds.

“’No student shall, within the precincts of the University, introduce, keep or use any spirituous or vinous liquors, keep or use weapons or arms of any kind …,’ the board declared. In his veto statement, Deal zeroed in on that passage.

“Deal made a bold choice to root his choice in this historical context. He could have justified his decision by referencing poll statistics (which in 2014 showed scant support for campus carry in Georgia) or listing higher education officials’ and academics’ concerns about free speech and law enforcement’s worries about student safety (all of which were abundantly voiced).

“Instead, he invoked the very authority on which many gun rights enthusiasts rely: The Founding Fathers’ words and intentions on the right to bear arms.

The complete article is available at:


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“The Trace is an independent, nonprofit media organization dedicated to expanding coverage of guns in the United States. We bring an admitted bias to our beat: We believe that this country’s rates of firearm-related deaths and injuries — an average of 91 lives lost per day, and more than 200 people suffering nonfatal bullet wounds — are far too high. But as journalists, our work is focused on a second, related problem. There is a relative shortage of information on the issue, a shortage caused in part by the gun lobby’s efforts to squash gun-violence research and limit law-enforcement data. We take it as our mission to address that information deficit through daily reporting, investigations, analysis, and commentary on the policy, politics, culture, and business of guns in America.”

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