David Ralston on campus carry: ‘This fight will go on’

House Speaker David Ralston didn’t shut the door on a legislative effort to overturn Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of a measure that would legalize firearms at Georgia’s college campuses as he reinforced his message that the “fight will go on” to pass the gun rights expansion.

“I don’t know yet. It’s not over, though. I’ve been clear about that,” Ralston said Thursday when asked about a potential override of Deal’s veto.

“This was a bill that I think is very important. It’s fully vetted and debated in the committee process. It was passed by both chambers overwhelmingly,” he added. “This fight will go on. The exact form it takes, it’s early to say right now.”

It would take a two-thirds majority in both chambers to override Deal’s veto, a tricky scenario for legislation that fell short of that mark during its initial debate. Some lawmakers also called for an override to Deal’s veto of “religious liberty” legislation, but Ralston and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said they preferred a fresh start on that decision.

Deal has come under increasing pressure from fellow Republicans after his veto of “campus carry” legislation that would have allowed students, faculty and others over 21 to carry concealed weapons on most places in campus.

The governor’s veto came after he made a personal appeal to legislators to carve out new exceptions to the measure days after it had passed both chambers. Ralston said that appeal came too late in the process, and said he had no regrets about his position.

“I don’t know yet what specific proposals may be offered, but it would be helpful to have these discussions before this bill is given final passage by both chambers,” he said.

But he wouldn’t discuss any specifics on what a compromise would look like, instead calling for calm as legislators map out their next step.

“There’s a lot of strong feeling out there now, no question. We need to let the temperature of the water cool down a bit, and consider what are the best paths forward,” he said. “Rather than make a decision in the heat of the moment, let’s take a deep breath.”

Read more: Campus gun veto could carry consequences for Georgia governor

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.