Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said Wednesday he will support giving college leaders a say on whether students may carry guns on campus. With a new version of a controversial gun bill expected to be filed Friday, Cagle sat down with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to talk about why he favors an “opt in” approach to guns, how quickly he wants to privatize parts of Georgia’s troubled foster care system and how to properly honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
On efforts to expand gun rights in Georgia:
“I have had a strong view of the protection of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. I don’t really back away from that. I think it’s a fundamental right and we’re proud of our record. The two most controversial issues (in the gun proposal) are those of ‘campus carry’ along with (allowing guns in) churches. Provided that there are the appropriate measures built around safety and the well-being and the concern of all, I could probably be comfortable with a campus carry approach. If an individual (such as a college or a church) wants to allow someone to be granted the right to carry under a concealed weapon permit, they should have that right. If they choose not to, then obviously the carry permit holder would have to respect that right. There’s discussion of the ‘opt in’ or ‘opt out’ provisions, and I think giving that school or that university or that church that ability is something that has some merit.”
On a push to privatize parts of Georgia’s foster care system:
“We’re talking about kids who have nowhere else to turn but to foster care. We can do a better job. We’re certainly not looking at a (complete) privatization, but I do think we are looking clearly at a public-private partnership that seeks out those vendors that have a strong mission and strong desire to protect kids. We’re not going to prescribe a hard, ironclad type of approach. But what we are wanting to do is set up a basic framework and then give some discretion to the (state) agency. It’s not going to be something that happens immediately. There are a number of steps that have to occur before we can really have something concrete in terms of implementation, but I do think that legislation needs to be put in place this year.”
On controversy over how to properly memorialize the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at the state Capitol:
“We had the fortune of him being a Georgia native, and so I think it is important that we find ways that recognize him that are fitting. He’s the only person who has a portrait here in the Capitol in a designated position along with the other governors. A genuine and sincere conversation does need to be had. If I had to have a preference, I more than likely would support some type of monument as the most appropriate way to honor him that’s fitting. There’s been a desire of many to look for a statue, and I’m very open to that idea.”
On the return of Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, after he was acquitted of filing false expense reports:
“It’s been a high priority of mine to ensure in the Senate that we do rise above party politics. We had some controversy on the floor around Sen. Balfour, and the one person who came to his defense was the Dean of the Senate, who’s a Democrat, Sen. Steve Thompson (of Marietta). The legal course has taken its action, and the Senate has also done various things and now it’s time to move on. Sen. Balfour is a good man, and is a man who can bring an awful lot of wisdom and knowledge to the debate in the Senate, so I look forward to what he’s going to be able to do this session and future years.”
On how a short legislative session can be a good thing:
“For every week that we’re able to cut off of our timeline, it saves us approximately $100,000.”
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