Georgia Supreme Court upholds dismissal of professors’ campus gun lawsuit

The Supreme Court of Georgia on Wednesday upheld a Fulton County court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed by professors over the state’s “campus carry” law.

In 2017, a group of University System of Georgia professors sued to block House Bill 280, which then-Gov. Nathan Deal had signed months before. The law allows people to carry concealed guns on public college campuses, though not in some spaces such as student housing and athletic event buildings.

Five professors appealed after the Georgia Attorney General’s Office prevailed in getting the case dismissed in Fulton County. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in February.

The professors argued that the 2017 law change was unconstitutional because it usurped the Georgia Board of Regents’ authority to govern and manage the state’s public colleges, according to court documents.

In a unanimous opinion, the state Supreme Court agreed that plaintiffs’ argument was moot because the Board of Regents themselves went on to adopt “gun-carrying policies consistent with the 2017 statutory amendment.”

“Here, what matters is not why the board adopted the policy in question, but merely that it did do so,” states the opinion authored by Justice John J. Ellington.

Attorneys for the professors did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

University of Georgia geography professor John Knox previously stated in court documents that he “believes guns in the classroom make the learning environment less safe.”

Other professors cited fears that students could use weapons to intimidate if they were in distress or if they received failing grades.