Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation Thursday allowing people with permits to carry concealed handguns on Georgia's public college campuses, despite the objections of state university leaders and his own veto of a campus-carry measure last year. Deal shocked fellow Republicans with strenuous objections to guns on campus in last year's veto message, and many expected the governor, who plans to retire next year, would issue another veto, the AP reports. But Deal said in a written message Thursday evening that he was swayed by exclusions that lawmakers wrote into House Bill 280, adding places on campus where even people with state-issued permits won't be allowed to carry concealed handguns.
These include preschools, faculty or administrative offices, disciplinary hearings, and areas where high schoolers take classes. "These excluded areas represent the most 'sensitive places' on a college campus," Deal wrote. "It is altogether appropriate that weapons not be allowed in these areas." Other places where concealed handguns remain prohibited include dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses, and buildings used for athletic events. Some form of campus carry is now legal in at least 10 states, including Arkansas, which passed its measure earlier this year, NPR reports. Georgia's new law will become effective July 1. (In 2014, Deal signed a law allowing guns in bars, churches, and government buildings.)