Acting on a number of bills over the weekend, Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed into law a measure that will ban the carrying of concealed guns on college campuses in the state, but vetoed legislation that would have required colleges to set tougher penalties for sexual assault.
The sex-assault bill, AB 967, would have required the state’s college and university systems, as well as independent institutions that receive state student aid, to adopt uniform sexual-assault policies across their campuses, and for those policies to mandate specific punishments, including suspension for a minimum of two years and possible expulsion of students found guilty of the “most egregious” violations. The bill also called for colleges to post annual public reports about sexual-misconduct complaints and investigations on their campuses.
Governor Brown, a Democrat, said in a veto message on Sunday that the goal of ensuring that no student got preferential treatment in the disciplinary process was “eminently reasonable,” but he said the measure “could deprive professionals from using their better judgment to discipline according to relevant circumstances.” He pointed to legislation he had signed over the past year, including a law that sets “affirmative consent” as the standard for investigating assault allegations, that he said give colleges more tools for dealing with sexual violence and other crimes on campuses.
The governor signed the bill banning concealed weapons on campuses, SB 707, on Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reported. An existing law already banned guns on the campuses of schools, colleges, and universities in the state, but people with concealed-carry licenses were exempt from that prohibition. The new measure amends the law to remove that exemption.
Governor Brown’s action on the bill came just over a week after a gunman killed nine people at a community college in southern Oregon, and just a day after deadly shootings at campuses in Arizona and Texas. Officials at a number of other colleges have put their campuses on high alert in the past week in response to threats of violence.