Member since: Tue Jun 29, 2004, 07:38 PM
Number of posts: 24,156
Number of posts: 24,156
Full disclosure: I work and teach on GA campus and I didn't care how this turned out either way, but most of my colleagues were dead set against the legislation.
ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said Tuesday he has vetoed a bill allowing concealed handguns on college campuses, rejecting the proposal that was easily approved by a legislature controlled by his own party in an election year.
The bill would have allowed anyone age 21 and over to carry a concealed handgun with the proper permit on a public college or university campus. The veto decision comes weeks after Deal rejected a bill shielding opponents of gay marriage. That measure was backed by conservative groups but blasted by more than 500 Georgia companies as discriminatory.
Deal's decision to kill the bill isn't a complete surprise. After it passed the legislature, he asked members to pass follow-up bills addressing concerns about access to on-campus daycare centers, spaces where high schools students can take college-level courses and where disciplinary hearings are held. They declined, saying the original bill was carefully considered.
Deal, who is in his second and final term, said last week that he would "do what's in the best interests of as many Georgians as possible."
Veto Signing Statements Public Record -- I don't think I need to truncate to 4 paragraphs
Veto Number 9
HB 859 seeks to amend O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127.1, which relates to the carrying of weapons within school safety zones. It would add an exception to the prohibition of carrying or possessing a weapon in such school zones, to “any licensed holder when he or she is in any building or on real property owned or leased to any public technical school, vocational school, college or university or other public institution of postsecondary education,” except for “buildings or property used for athletic sporting events or student housing, including, but not limited to fraternity and sorority houses…”
Some supporters of HB 859 contend that this legislation is justified under the provisions of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution which provides in part that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Identical words are contained in Article I, Section, I, Paragraph VIII of the Constitution of the State of Georgia. It would be incorrect to conclude, however, that certain restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms are unconstitutional.
In the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller, United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, writing the opinion of the Court, reviews the history of the Second Amendment and sets forth the most complete explanation of the Amendment ever embodied in a Supreme Court opinion. While the subject matter of HB 859 was not before the Court in the Heller case, the opinion clearly establishes that “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” Justice Scalia further states that “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on…laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings…”
Georgia, like most jurisdictions, has set forth statutory provisions defining what constitutes those “sensitive places” and has imposed specific rules relating to the presence of weapons in those places. Indeed, the Georgia Code section which HB 859 seeks to amend is called the “Georgia Firearms and Weapons Act.”
Since the right to keep and bear arms in sensitive places such as those enumerated in HB 859 is not guaranteed by the Second Amendment nor the Georgia Constitution, the inquiry should then focus on whether or not those places deserve to continue to be shielded from weapons as they are and have been for generations in our state.
Perhaps the most enlightening evidence of the historical significance of prohibiting weapons on a college campus is found in the minutes of October 4, 1824, Board of Visitors of the newly created University of Virginia. Present for that meeting were Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, along with four other members. In that meeting of the Board of Visitors, detailed rules were set forth for the operation of the University which would open several months later. Under the rules relating to the conduct of students, it provided that “No student shall, within the precincts of the University, introduce, keep or use any spirituous or venomous liquors, keep or use weapons or arms of any kind…”
The approval of these specific prohibitions relating to “campus carry” by the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and the principal author of the United States Constitution should not only dispel any vestige of Constitutional privilege but should illustrate that having college campuses free of weapons has great historical precedent.
That college campuses should be a “gun free zone” is a concept that has deep roots in Georgia as well. In the 2014 session of the Georgia General Assembly, HB 60 was passed and I signed it into law. That bill greatly expanded the areas where licensed gun owners could take their weapons. At that time, campus carry was considered but not adopted.
While there have been alarming incidents of criminal conduct on college campuses in which students have been victimized during the past two years, do those acts justify such a radical departure from the classification of colleges as “sensitive areas” where weapons are not allowed? The presumed justification is the need for students to provide their own self-protection against such criminal conduct. However, since students who are under 21 years of age would be ineligible to avail themselves of such protection under the terms of HB 859, it is safe to assume that a significant portion of the student body would be unarmed.
As for the buildings and places referred to in this legislation, I will simply call “colleges.” In order to carry a weapon onto a college, there is no requirement that the armed individual actually be a student, only that they possess a license to carry a weapon. Since most, if not all, of our colleges are open campuses, this bill will allow any licensed gun owner to bring a concealed weapon onto the campus and neither police nor other law enforcement personnel will be allowed to even ask the individual to produce evidence of his license.
If the intent of HB 859 is to increase safety of students on college campuses, it is highly questionable that such would be the result. However, I understand the concerns of the authors of this legislation and the parents and students who want it to become law. They apparently believe that the colleges are not providing adequate security on their campuses and that civilian police are not doing so on the sidewalks, streets and parking lots students use as they go to and come from classes.
I have today issued an Executive Order directed to the Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia and the Chancellor of the University System of Georgia, requesting that they submit a report to me, the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House by August 1, 2016, as to the security measures that each college within their respective systems has in place. I hereby call on the leaders of the municipalities and counties in which these colleges are located, along with their law enforcement agencies to review and improve, if necessary, their security measures in areas surrounding these colleges. Since each of these municipalities and counties receive significant revenue by virtue of the location of these colleges in their jurisdictions, I believe it is appropriate that they be afforded extra protections.
Since much of the motivation for HB 859 is the commission of crimes involving the use of firearms on college campuses, I suggest to the General Assembly that it consider making the unauthorized possession and/or use of a firearm on a college campus an act that carries an increased penalty or an enhanced sentence for the underlying crime.
From the early days of our nation and state, colleges have been treated as sanctuaries of learning where firearms have not been allowed. To depart from such time-honored protections should require overwhelming justification. I do not find that such justification exists. Therefore, I VETO HB 859.
That last paragraph is pretty strong for a conservative GA governor. I'm not sure a few tweaks will satisfy him next year.
Posted by aikoaiko | Tue May 3, 2016, 09:26 PM (2 replies)
Do What You Want: An Open Letter to the Bernie or Bust Movement on Behalf of the Democratic Party
Trevor LaFauci April 25, 2016
Over the past month, you've been in the news quite often for your political stance in which you've stated that the only candidate you will support this election cycle is Senator Bernie Sanders. This stance has drawn a range of reactions from people like Huffington Post's H. A. Goodman that support your dedication to your candidate to those like political comedian Bill Maher who have advised you to "not be assholes." Despite Bernie Sanders' recent willingness to support Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee if certain conditions are met, a number of you have continued your stance to support Sanders and Sanders alone. Polls have come out showing that you represent one-quarter of Senator Sanders' supporters. If we were to extrapolate that number out, it would mean over 2 million Democratic voters would be sitting out the 2016 general election, potentially creating an extremely close race or even a Republican victory. With so much at stake, you all are probably tired of all the advice you've been given so I'll do my best to cut to the heart of what I'd like you to know:
The Democratic Party doesn't want or need your vote.
Folks Who Have Seen Your Kind Before
Like I was saying.
edited to add: HRC and her supporters are saying and acting as if they don't want my vote. I've never said I won't vote for HRC or "Bernie or Bust", but I understand that point of view on a personal level. When HRC blows off any Bernie supporter, they they are blowing me off, too.
Posted by aikoaiko | Fri Apr 29, 2016, 10:08 AM (109 replies)
And I think I'm in love with Seattle.
What a great city.
Comicon added some nice flavor to the convention area.
And it's restaurant week, too.
Posted by aikoaiko | Sun Apr 10, 2016, 11:44 PM (33 replies)
Go, Bernie, go!
Posted by aikoaiko | Tue Apr 5, 2016, 10:16 PM (5 replies)
I really can't get over the incredible storytelling.
In many ways, it picks up where This American Life leaves off.
One could say it is the Black New York alternative to the Jewish Chicago This American Life.
I love both shows.
Man in the Mirror Episode is fantastic.
Posted by aikoaiko | Sat Mar 12, 2016, 10:15 PM (2 replies)
I'm proud of you for proving wrong all those who said you'd be gone the day after Super Tuesday.
And now you're close in MO and OH. Bern, baby, bern.
Posted by aikoaiko | Sat Mar 12, 2016, 11:13 AM (2 replies)
For old time's sake.
Circa 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner.
Posted by aikoaiko | Fri Mar 4, 2016, 04:06 PM (1 replies)
Hillary Clinton Goes Back to the Dunning School
How do you diagnose the problem of racism in America without understanding its actual history?
Last night Hillary Clinton was asked what president inspired her the most. She offered up Abraham Lincoln, gave a boilerplate reason why, and then said this:
You know, he was willing to reconcile and forgive. And I don't know what our country might have been like had he not been murdered, but I bet that it might have been a little less rancorous, a little more forgiving and tolerant, that might possibly have brought people back together more quickly.
But instead, you know, we had Reconstruction, we had the re-instigation of segregation and Jim Crow. We had people in the South feeling totally discouraged and defiant. So, I really do believe he could have very well put us on a different path.
Clinton, whether she knows it or not, is retelling a racist—though popular—version of American history which held sway in this country until relatively recently. Sometimes going under the handle of “The Dunning School,” and other times going under the “Lost Cause” label, the basic idea is that Reconstruction was a mistake brought about by vengeful Northern radicals. The result was a savage and corrupt government which in turn left former Confederates, as Clinton puts, it “discouraged and defiant.”
He talks about it some more and makes some more criticism of Bernie, too.
Posted by aikoaiko | Tue Jan 26, 2016, 08:33 PM (2 replies)
I think the president was honest and sincere about his desire to improve existing laws to reduce, ever so slightly, gun violence.
Its really a shame that professional gun control advocates and the Whitehouse have used more extreme language about "closing the gun show loophole" and "ending internet sales without background checks." They oversold the president's recommendations and now he is trying to walk it back to reality. Nevertheless, the NRA now will fight the perception that president is orchestrating substantive changes.
Cooper's question about the fairness of calling worries about broader gun control and confiscations conspiracy theories hit a nerve with the president. Obviously, door-to-door confiscation is far fetched, but the idea that passing modest gun control laws will be a prelude to more restrictive gun control laws is not. The president supports an Assault Weapons Ban. I don't think the president understands that or maybe he does but won't admit it.
So I hope congress funds the hiring of more agents for background checks and investigations, I hope congress funds the implementation of new processes where those who are dangerous due to mental illness are identified as prohibited from gun ownership and have a fair process for defending themselves, I hope congress provides the funds to improve the quality of datasets so that they can provide correct denial decisions.
But let's be clear that the so-called gun show loophole is no more closed today than it was a week ago and nothing he proposed closes it at all. A collector with 100 guns can rent a table and sell each firearm to 100 different people without a federally required background check. All we have now is the hysterical bleating from the loudest mouths on both sides of the RKBA issue.
And maybe that was the point -- to create the impression of substantive change in order to create energy in the anti-RKBA base to produce actual substantive change.
Posted by aikoaiko | Fri Jan 8, 2016, 12:30 AM (29 replies)
We don't have the specific executive orders/action documents yet, but we have this statement/release.
Here is the first item:
1 Keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks.
a. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is making clear that it doesn’t matter where you conduct your business—from a store, at gun shows, or over the Internet: If you’re in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks.
b. ATF is finalizing a rule to require background checks for people trying to buy some of the most dangerous weapons and other items through a trust, corporation, or other legal entity.
c. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch has sent a letter to States highlighting the importance of receiving complete criminal history records and criminal dispositions, information on persons disqualified because of a mental illness, and qualifying crimes of domestic violence.
d. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is overhauling the background check system to make it more effective and efficient. The envisioned improvements include processing background checks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and improving notification of local authorities when certain prohibited persons unlawfully attempt to buy a gun. The FBI will hire more than 230 additional examiners and other staff to help process these background checks.
a. This idea that if you're in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks is existing law. The law also says that private sellers can transfer their weapons in exchange for money without a license or background check (although state laws may require a background check). What we need is a rule that describes when private seller transfer becomes a business. Further down the release, the president punts:
"Quantity and frequency of sales are relevant indicators. There is no specific threshold number of firearms purchased or sold that triggers the licensure requirement. But it is important to note that even a few transactions, when combined with other evidence, can be sufficient to establish that a person is “engaged in the business.” For example, courts have upheld convictions for dealing without a license when as few as two firearms were sold or when only one or two transactions took place, when other factors also were present."
b. Clarifying the background check requirements for trusts and corporations is a good thing, but I have never heard of a trust NFA weapon being used in any crime let alone mass murder. Zero. There was only one documented use of a legal NFA weapon being used in a crime back in the 1980s and I don't think it was a trust. Nevertheless, the rules should be clarified. Please note, that laws already punish unlawful possession of any firearm (trust or not) if you are a prohibited person. Its not like these people couldn't be convicted if caught.
c. This sounds like a nice letter. All states should know that its important to report data correctly.
d. Hiring more people to due background checks is important. More examiners will mean fewer bureaucratic mistakes like the one that happened with the Charleston church massacre. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/10/421789047/fbi-says-background-check-error-let-charleston-shooting-suspect-buy-gun
2. Make our communities safer from gun violence.
The Attorney General convened a call with U.S. Attorneys around the country to direct federal prosecutors to continue to focus on smart and effective enforcement of our gun laws.
The President’s FY2017 budget will include funding for 200 new ATF agents and investigators to help enforce our gun laws.
ATF has established an Internet Investigation Center to track illegal online firearms trafficking and is dedicating $4 million and additional personnel to enhance the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network.
ATF is finalizing a rule to ensure that dealers who ship firearms notify law enforcement if their guns are lost or stolen in transit.
The Attorney General issued a memo encouraging every U.S. Attorney’s Office to renew domestic violence outreach efforts.
All of the issues in Item 2 look good to me. Having accurate and timely data in background check datasets is essential for good denials. Hiring new agents who can investigate and arrest people who knowingly attempt to purchase a gun when they are prohibited and other illegal transfers is something a lot of people have been asking for. Clarifying the reporting of stolen firearms when shipped from businesses is an excellent change.
3. Increase mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system.
a. The Administration is proposing a new $500 million investment to increase access to mental health care.
b. The Social Security Administration has indicated that it will begin the rulemaking process to include information in the background check system about beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm for mental health reasons.
c. The Department of Health and Human Services is finalizing a rule to remove unnecessary legal barriers preventing States from reporting relevant information about people prohibited from possessing a gun for specific mental health reasons
a. More money for mental health treatment is good for everyone.
b. I think this issue involves Representative Payees. If a beneficiary is minor or mentally incompetent, a representative payee can be appointed. I believe this involves a hearing and due process. Its sounds reasonable, but I don't know of any cases where someone with a representative payee committed a gun crime. There aren't that many -- only 77,000.
c. This could be a tricky issue. Mental health advocates may have a problem with this. Mental health is health information and subject to certain protections. We need more info on this.
4. Shape the future of gun safety technology.
The President has directed the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology.
The President has also directed the departments to review the availability of smart gun technology on a regular basis, and to explore potential ways to further its use and development to more broadly improve gun safety.
I'm all for this. When military and civilian LE are satisfied with the technology for their use, it will become more accepted by non-military, non-LE civilians.
Posted by aikoaiko | Tue Jan 5, 2016, 02:56 PM (41 replies)