Governor Deal vetoed campus carry, as I told you last. week. In vetoing campus carry for GWCL holders, Gov. Deal relied on an 1824 report of the governing body of the University of Virginia. It seems Thomas Jefferson, my favorite president, and James Madison, a Top 5 President, authorized the exclusion of weapons on the UVA campus. Here’s what the minutes actually say: “No Student shall, within the precincts of the University, introduce, keep or use any spirituous or vinous liquors, keep or use weapons or arms of any kind, or gunpowder, keep a servant, horse or dog, appear in school with a stick, or any weapon, nor, while in school, be covered without permission of the Professor, nor use tobacco by smoking or chewing, on pain of any of the minor punishments at the discretion of the Faculty, or of the board of Censors, approved by the Faculty.
Dissecting that sentence, it appears that a student could keep a weapon with the permission of the Professor. Governor Deal certainly isn’t in favor of that. In 1824, there was no criminal prosecution of the student, but whatever minor punishment the professor believed appropriate. Again, Gov. Deal isn’t in favor of that and instead believes that students who dare to carry should be imprisoned.
Further, an entire reading of the minutes show that visitors were welcome to attend classes at any time and that no gun restrictions applied to visitors. Gov. Deal is against that too. Further, students were authorized to stay at local hoteliers or in apartments off campus, which the University paid for. There was no prohibition on weapons carry off the “precincts” of UVA. Gov. Deal is against any dorm possession of guns. While UVA didn’t imprison anyone, Gov. Deal would have gun supporters cast into the hinterlands of state prison to serve their time with the other scofflaws.
Interestingly, in 1824, this same governing body required all students to attend mandatory military exercises for two hours every Saturday. Weapons were provided and attendance was kept. Insubordination was noted and reported to the faculty. Gov. Deal hasn’t suggested that that military service would be a good idea. Instead, we have college students who need a “safe place” to be free from harmful ideas and things like ROTC. Those sensitive students obviously can’t tolerate the idea that a fellow student went through the trouble of getting a GWCL for lawful weapons carry. After all, a GWCL can’t have a conviction for smoking dope, and what respectable college student doesn’t imbibe?
What else was interesting about those minutes upon which Gov. Deal relied? Total tuition, room and board for a student at UVA was about $300 in 1824. When Gov. Deal began his lifelong political career in 1980, tuition, room & board at UGA was $3,000. Now, after his decades of adherence to fiscal conservative policies (remember, he was a Democrat until it was expedient to be a Republican), the UGA costs are $25,134. Under Gov. Deal’s watchful eye, Georgia’s flagship university costs have risen 834%, four times the inflation rate.
Just a thought, maybe if Gov. Deal had paid more attention to rising education costs over the years instead of prohibiting law abiding citizens their right to carry, more students could afford a college education and Georgia wouldn’t rank near the bottom of the civilized world in brain power. Instead he deemed it more important to keep “sensitive” educational institutions a gun free zone, at least for the law abiding.
Kelly Burke, master attorney, former district attorney and magistrate judge, is engaged in private practice. He writes about the law, rock’n’roll and politics. These articles are not designed to give legal advice, but are designed to inform the public about how the law affects their daily lives. Contact Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org to comment on this article or suggest articles that you’d like to see and visit his website atwww.kellyrburke.com to view prior columns.