ATLANTA - The waiting game is finally over: Governor Nathan Deal officially vetoed the "campus carry" bill late Tuesday afternoon just hours before the bill signing period came to a close.
The bill would have allowed licensed gun owners to carry concealed firearms onto public college, university and technical school campuses in the state. Buildings used for athletic events and student housing, including sorority and fraternity houses, would still be gun free zones.
"I was still hopeful. You know, I know there was a lot of pressure on both sides," said Rep. Rick Jasperse, R- Jasper, the bill primary sponsor.
Governor Deal expressed concerns about the legislation after the general assembly passed it in March.
"Specifically, these areas of concern include dually enrolled K-12 students who leave school to attend classes at a university or technical college campus, as well as daycare centers on these same campuses," Deal's office said in a statement.
The governor publicly asked lawmakers to address those issues, but they did not.
"Of course, we're disappointed," said Rep. Rick Jasperse. "I think we had done a good job in the media using facts, not emotional hand-wringing, just facts."
Supporters of the bill, including Jerry Henry, the executive director of GeorgiaCarry.org, said they will try again next year.
"We'll meet probably in November or December and look at our options and see what we're [going to] do," said Rep. Jasperse.
The governor's office released the following statement accompanying his veto Tuesday:
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston issued a statement in response to Gov. Deal's veto: