Gov. Nathan Deal Monday countered critics of his veto of the controversial bill that would have allowed guns on college campuses with the exceptions of dorms, fraternities and sororities, and sporting events.
After state lawmakers passed the “campus carry” bill earlier this year, Deal asked them to amend it to address his concerns about weapons in campus day cares, administrative buildings and into disciplinary hearings.
Monday, the governor indicated he is opposed to students taking guns on campus.
Speaking to reporters, Deal noted The University of Georgia opened in 1785, and since then, said Deal, “we’ve been through major wars, conflicts and upheavals in this country and in the world. Why all of sudden in 2016 do we need weapons in the hands of college students?”
In a statement about his veto, Deal made a similar point that “having college campuses free of weapons has great historical precedent.”
Deal has faced loud criticism from some lawmakers since that veto, including Republican Rep. Kevin Cooke of Carrollton.
“We’re going to be stuck with him for two more stinking years,” said Cooke in an interview with WLBB radio.
“All he’s doing systematically is tearing down anything good that we could have done,” said Cooke. “Heck, we’re building his legacy, trying to build it for him. And what’s he doing? He’s running the other way.”
Cooke also called Deal a Democrat and said he’s “the reason Donald Trump is the nominee for president.”
“Some people want to have their own self-importance,” Deal said. “Kevin Cooke has never been in my office, by the way.”
The governor went on to question Cooke’s own status as a Republican, telling reporters, “he may be a RINO [Republican In Name Only].”
Republican legislators say they will try again next year to pass a “campus carry” bill.