Judge denies injunction request in Georgia campus carry lawsuit

Groups opposed to campus-carry rally in the Capitol in March 2016 before delivering 30,000 petitions to Gov. Nathan Deal’s office urging the veto of the bill that eventually became law in Georgia. BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM
Groups opposed to campus-carry rally in the Capitol in March 2016 before delivering 30,000 petitions to Gov. Nathan Deal’s office urging the veto of the bill that eventually became law in Georgia. BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

A Fulton County judge has denied an injunction request by six Georgia professors to prohibit the state’s contentious campus carry law, which allows licensed gun owners to carry a firearm on some parts of public college campuses.

Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams wrote in her ruling her decision had nothing to do with the merits of the complaint. Instead, she wrote, “because the State has not waived sovereign immunity, and, to the extent Plaintiffs claims could be sustained against Defendants in their individual capacities, official immunity would bar such claims.”

The ruling was filed Thursday.

Sovereign immunity prohibits a government from being sued. It's a legal doctrine rooted in the centuries-old English principle that "the king can do no wrong."

The professors argued campus carry is dangerous and unconstitutional. The law has been long sought by conservatives and gun rights activists as a safety measure for students, faculty and administrators. Gov. Nathan Deal signed the law in 2017. He and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr were defendants in the case.

A spokeswoman for Carr declined comment on the ruling. Peter Canfield, an attorney representing the professors, said the plaintiffs are exploring their options, which could include an appeal.