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State suffers two blows from elected officials

Georgia report

POSTED: May 15, 2017 4:00 p.m.
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Tom Crawford is editor of The Georgia Report, an internet news service at gareport.com that reports on state government and politics.

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Within the space of 24 hours, Georgia suffered two devastating blows from their governor and their congressional delegation. I wonder if the state will ever recover from them.

First up was Gov. Nathan Deal, who signed the "campus carry" bill that will enable weapons carry license holders to tote their firearms in wide areas on the state’s college campuses.

When Deal shot down a similar bill last year, I thought it was one of the most courageous things ever done by a Georgia governor. He resisted enormous pressure from his Republican colleagues to veto the bill and keep guns out of an environment where they don’t belong.

The legislature came back this year and added several campus locales where firearms will not be permitted:

Buildings used for athletic sporting events; student housing; preschool or childcare space; classes related to a college and career academy or other specialized school; rooms used for classes where high school students are enrolled through a dual enrollment program; faculty and administrative offices; and rooms where disciplinary proceedings are conducted.

Deal used the additional exemptions to justify his signature on this year’s bill.

The new law still allows guns to be carried across campuses and into classrooms.

This is what will inevitably happen. There are ideologically minded students on every campus who are old enough to have a carry permit and itching to make a statement about Second Amendment rights.

You will see them flaunt the new law as they strut into classes with a Glock automatic strapped to their hip or an AR-15 assault rifle slung over their shoulder.

Many students will get up and leave the class, not because they are left-wing snowflakes but simply because they don’t like to be in the same room with a gun.

The sight of an armed student in a class will unsettle many professors as well. If you’re an American history teacher and you see an armed student with white nationalist badges on his military jacket, you’re not going to have a full and honest discussion about the impact of slavery as the cause of the Civil War.

I know that I couldn’t teach in an atmosphere like that, and I don’t know many instructors who would want to.

With freer access to guns on campus, it’s very likely that some students will be able to sneak their weapons into Sanford Stadium or Bobby Dodd Stadium. That should set up some interesting scenarios among fans who are on the losing end of a tense rivalry game.

What Deal said last year when he vetoed the campus carry bill is true today, regardless of the changes in the bill.

"From the early days of our nation and state, colleges have been treated as sanctuaries of learning where firearms have not been allowed," Deal said. "To depart from such time honored protections should require overwhelming justification. I do not find that such justification exists."

As Deal was signing the campus carry bill into law, Republican House members in Washington were preparing to pass Trumpcare, a bill that will repeal Obamacare and replace it with a new health insurance system that is much, much worse.

Republicans claim that everyone will still have "access" to healthcare coverage and pay lower premiums under Trumpcare, but that is a lie.

If Trumpcare becomes law, then states with Republican governors (like Georgia) would have the ability to allow insurance companies to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions — premiums that are so high, patients are priced right out of market.

These unfortunates will be shoved into "high risk pools" to obtain their coverage, but these pools will be so underfunded they will soon implode.

In the end, millions of patients will find themselves out of coverage and out of luck if they should have a serious illness.

The end game is to take $800 billion out of Medicaid, thus gutting that program as well, and using the funds to grant tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans.

You can thank congressmen like Jody Hice, Doug Collins, Drew Ferguson, Barry Loudermilk and Tom Graves, among others, for voting to rip healthcare coverage from their constituents and essentially condemning some of them to die. I hope their constituents appreciate their hard work.

 He can be reached at tcrawford@gareport.com.

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