R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe is publicly urging Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to veto legislation that would allow college students to carry concealed firearms on the state’s public campuses.
“For me, this battle hits close to home,” writes Stipe, who met his future bandmates when they were students at the University of Georgia in Athens. Several of the group’s members still call Athens home.
“Like many other Georgians, I am worried about how guns on campus would affect college life,” he continues. “I worry about what it means when loaded guns are allowed at a tailgate where alcohol is being served. I’m concerned for survivors of sexual assault, who may soon have to face an armed assailant at the time of the crime and again at their disciplinary hearing.
“I worry what will happen to … open and honest conversation when the participants know that the people around them could have loaded guns in their backpacks.”
The op-ed follows R.E.M. tweeting a photo last week of Stipe holding a sign that read, “I support gun-free campuses for Georgia. Anything else is stupid.”
Supporters of HB859 depict it as a safety measure that would allow students, faculty, and administrators to protect themselves. If the bill becomes law, it will make Georgia the ninth state to allow campus carry.
Deal has until May 3 to decide whether to sign the bill. Read Stipe’s full op-ed.