As Governor Nathan Deal vetoed his state’s controversial ‘Campus Carry’ bill last week, the state’s neighbor to the North saw its own version of the bill pass.
Last Monday Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam declined to sign or veto, (and thereby letting pass) his state’s SB 2376, which allows full-time faculty and staff at colleges and universities to carry firearms on campus. Aware that local schools opposed the bill, as did many in Georgia, a reluctant Haslam said that, “Although SB 2376 does not go as far as I would like in retaining campus control, the final version of the bill included input from higher education and was shaped to accommodate some of their concerns.”
Tennessee’s version of the bill doesn’t go as far as Georgia’s, which would have allowed for students with carry permits to possess guns on campuses, (with a few designated prohibited zones, including dorms and athletic events) but it nonetheless was a subject of intense debate during the state’s 2016 legislative session.
Deal seemed to take a shot at Haslam during his own speech following his veto of HB 859, saying, “I don’t walk away from bills, I either sign them or veto them.”
And veto he did, much to the chagrin of a majority of his state’s legislative body.
On Wednesday State Rep. Kevin Cooke laid into the Deal, criticizing the Governor for vetoing a pair of bills that were supported nearly unanimously by the heavily Republican state legislature.
Said Cooke, “If you want a liberal Republican, moderate Republican, whatever, a Democrat – if you believe something, say what you believe. Let’s have that open debate and dialogue. But don’t tell the people of Georgia, ‘I’m conservative Republican, this is what I do.’ And then you get in office and do something else. And we’re going to be stuck with him for two more stinking years.”
After this week’s events it may be a tumultuous two years for Deal indeed.