Georgia’s highest court on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a lawsuit brought by five college professors against the removal of public colleges and universities from a list of “school safe zones” where guns are banned.
Prior to the state law change in 2017, carrying or possessing a gun on property or buildings owned or leased by a college or university was a misdemeanor. The five University System of Georgia professors who sued over the change said allowing guns to be carried on campus violated longstanding university system policies.
They argued the amendment was unconstitutional as it violated the Board of Regents’ constitutional authority to direct, control and administer the university system. The state filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
In a unanimous decision, Georgia Supreme Court Justice John Ellington wrote that the complaint showed that the Board of Regents had passed gun-carrying guidelines consistent with the amendment. This makes the question of whether his authority has been usurped moot, he wrote.
The professors had argued that there was a violation of the separation of powers that could not be rebutted by the fact that the Board of Regents bowed to or approved the new policy.
But the judges had a different opinion.
“If we find that this action by the board calls into question the professors’ objection to the 2017 change, we do not care why the board took this action,” the statement reads. “What matters here is not why the board adopted the policy in question, just that it did so.”