Georgia professors file suit against Gov. Deal over campus carry law

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Six professors have filed a lawsuit against Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to end the campus carry law. The suit comes less than three months after the law took effect.

Three professors from the University of Georgia, two from Valdosta State University, and one from Georgia Southwestern State University filed the motion Monday in Fulton County Superior Court.

The professors argue that the state should not have the legal authority to "usurp" the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Part of the lengthy complaint and supporting memorandum reads:

"As Defendant Deal recognized when he vetoed guns-on-campus legislation just last year, whether to allow guns on college campuses and in college classrooms is a fundamental question of educational policy. Decisions about campus gun policy implicate not only safety concerns but also professors’ teaching practices and universities’ ability to attract top students and faculty. These decisions therefore fall in the heartland of the constitutionally conferred autonomy of the Board of Regents."

The lawsuit argues that the campus carry law is unconstitutional in that it overrides the independence of the Board of Regents:

"The Georgia Constitution provides that that “[t]he government, control, and management of the University System of Georgia... shall be vested in the Board of Regents.” This guarantees that the University System has constitutionally protected autonomy as it carries out its educational mission. The Guns on Campus Laws are unconstitutional because they purport to override the Board of Regents’ exclusive authority to set educational policy and supervise university affairs (as delegated to, and exercised in conjunction with, University System institutions). They work together to displace the University System’s two-centuries-old policy of prohibiting guns at institutions of higher learning."

The professors also argue that by the law bypassing the Board of Regents, lawmakers would not have taken into consideration safety hazards such as science and art labs which would not mix well with firearms. They also use Gov. Deal's original veto of the bill a year ago in their argument.

One professor from the University of Georgia, described himself in the lawsuit as "a gun owner, and his family (the Settle family) was a prominent manufacturer of Kentucky long rifles in the 1800s." Professor John Knox stated he joined the lawsuit out of concern over guns on campus leading to easier ways for students to commit suicide.

Gov. Deal had not issued a response to the lawsuit as of Wednesday.

A hearing date has not yet been announced.