Nathan Deal to beef up mental health reviews, gives green light to guns for school administrators

Gov. Nathan Deal said Wednesday he will initiate a stricter review of Georgia’s mental health records for gun permit applicants, and gave a green light to legislation that would allow school administrators to carry concealed weapons.

The governor made his remarks during a reporters scrum that included my AJC colleague Greg Bluestein, who filed this:

Deal said he’d support procedural changes to ensure state agencies are checking mental-health records of people seeking guns. “We think that is one area where we need to be more vigilant,” he said.

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said there’s no legislation tied to the effort, but that the state will beef up its review process to make sure the state is “doing everything it can to protect Georgians’ safety.”

A federal law adopted after the Virginia Tech massacre requires states to share the names of mentally ill people with the national background-check system to prevent them from buying guns. While many states don’t comply, records show Georgia has submitted thousands of records since the law was passed in 2008.

Walter Jones of Morris News Service added this to the mix:

Of the bills already introduced in Georgia’s legislature as of the third day of the current 40-day session, [the governor] predicted the only one to succeed is from Rep. Paul Battles, R-Cartersville, that would authorize local school boards to arm principals if they choose.

“That one does have some merit,” said Deal, in what is as close as he ever gets to endorsing anyone else’s proposals. “If someone is going to be in an environment around children, they certainly need to be trained. I think it’s one that may receive favorable consideration by the General Assembly”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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26 comments Add your comment

Phil W

January 16th, 2013
3:31 pm

To limit this to principles shows narrow thinking. Any teacher that has a concealed carry permit must be included, otherwise any bad guy would only have to go after the principal. Better that he/she not know in advance who is able to fight back.

Deep Cover

January 16th, 2013
3:35 pm

Unfortunately, I don’t trust the teachers to “not” shoot the kids. I can EASILY see a “stand your ground” scenario where a teacher starts shooting the pupils.

J Throckmorton Malcontent

January 16th, 2013
3:47 pm

Well,l if this doesn’t put an end to freak dancing at prom, nothing will.


January 16th, 2013
4:02 pm

The Principals aint at the school half the time. Sheer brilliance. Next idea that’s less stupid.


January 16th, 2013
4:21 pm

I just hope my kids get out of school before everyone there is carrying guns. What a way to grow up! Of course, that’s our gun lobby and stupid legislators who believe everyone should have a gun anywhere at any time…sober, drunk, angry, whatever!

Review Mental Health of School Administrators?

January 16th, 2013
4:29 pm

Deal has sure had it in for teachers, even though he was one fot a bit, and they say his momma was one.

Now he’s going after school administrators. Making them targets.

Is this just another effort to drive kid’s parents to enroll them in [private] charter schools he’s going to fund with all the surplus money taxpayer money his corporate tax cuts have generated?


January 16th, 2013
4:29 pm

Guess what…its not going to matter if the criminal has an assault weapon meant for war. They could take out 10 people with handguns before any of them could pull the trigger. This is a stupid waste of resources be a stupid governor.


January 16th, 2013
4:30 pm

BY a stupid governor


January 16th, 2013
4:30 pm

I will never vote for anyone except SROs to be armed in school. Teachers nor administrators do not have the time to get the training necessary to carry guns around children. This is just another senseless law being put forth by legislators and the governor who have no idea what a school atomphere is like. All you gun nuts criticize my comment, but I have over 60 years experience on you.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 16th, 2013
4:36 pm

– Mayan Palace Theater, San Antonio, Texas, this week: Jesus Manuel Garcia shoots at a movie theater, a police car and bystanders from the nearby China Garden restaurant; as he enters the movie theater, guns blazing, an armed off-duty cop shoots Garcia four times, stopping the attack. Total dead: Zero.

– Winnemucca, Nev., 2008: Ernesto Villagomez opens fire in a crowded restaurant; concealed carry permit-holder shoots him dead. Total dead: Two. (I’m excluding the shooters’ deaths in these examples.)

– Appalachian School of Law, 2002: Crazed immigrant shoots the dean and a professor, then begins shooting students; as he goes for more ammunition, two armed students point their guns at him, allowing a third to tackle him. Total dead: Three.

– Santee, Calif., 2001: Student begins shooting his classmates — as well as the “trained campus supervisor”; an off-duty cop who happened to be bringing his daughter to school that day points his gun at the shooter, holding him until more police arrive. Total dead: Two.

– Pearl High School, Mississippi, 1997: After shooting several people at his high school, student heads for the junior high school; assistant principal Joel Myrick retrieves a .45 pistol from his car and points it at the gunman’s head, ending the murder spree. Total dead: Two.

– Edinboro, Pa., 1998: A student shoots up a junior high school dance being held at a restaurant; restaurant owner pulls out his shotgun and stops the gunman. Total dead: One.

Bob Loblaw

January 16th, 2013
4:40 pm

My favorite of these is the Edinboro, PA one. I bet the party really went off after that!


January 16th, 2013
4:49 pm

When will guns be allowed in the Capital?


January 16th, 2013
4:53 pm

Review Mental Health of School Administrators? “”””Deal has sure had it in for teachers, even though he was one for a bit, and they say his momma was one.””””
A friend of young child was taught by a relative of shady Deal….The teacher was dumber than Natie…were talking bag of crooked rocks here people. Only catered to the well to do children.

Kick the can on down the road… …To hell with the taxpayers of GA …Crooked DEAL Hope your proud of your do nothing actions.

I think all political candidates as well as the ones in office should have and pass a Mental Health review and a indebt Ethics check and the shady Governor (term loosely used).

If anyone drops their wallet in near the Gold Dome, I’d suggest they kick it to Stone Mountain before bending over to pick it up.


January 16th, 2013
5:01 pm

Not sure if this fact…Some pharmacy’s near the gold dome are reporting a shortage of Viagra.

Just saying.

News Flash, The Georgia legislators ….Day 3

Come Monday, mothers should keep their small children in the house and all should avert their eyes because the state assembly is in session. Its not safe for man or beast to walk the streets


January 16th, 2013
5:53 pm

Ahhh, the Georgia General Assembly…..

When taking proper steps may offend campaign funders (and low information voters) take a pointless and expensive step that will not solve the problem..


January 16th, 2013
5:58 pm

The mental health system in Georgia is a joke. Sure, if you have $$ you can get a decent doctor or a bed in a not-totally-nightmarish facility. But all they’ll do is pump you full of pharmaceuticals. SURE, some folks need them! (You know who you are. Please take them already.) But they do bugger all to address any real issues that perpetuate the crazy. They spend almost NO time with any patient, preferring useless “group” settings where no one’s issues get addressed, but which maximize profit that can be made on any group of sick people, freeing up time to see a hundred other patients for 8 minutes a pop. Here’s a ’scrip! Cha-ching. Here’s another ’scrip. Cha-ching! Is it working? Who cares?

For the financially-disadvantaged mentally ill — which is most of them, since the illness eats of resources and reduces economic opportunities — they’re just wandering around like time bombs waiting to go off on the rest of us. For those on Medicaid, they’ll lock ‘em up in a heartbeat, in some filthy disgusting heck hole, bleed the yearly benefit allotment, and then kick ‘em out — while NOT helping them at all. Who pays for that? We do. Are we safer for it? Nope.

There’s no profit in giving a darn about crazy people; hence, it does not happen in Georgia.


January 16th, 2013
6:03 pm

off topic::170 of red state house tea party republicans in Washington voted against Hurricane Sandy disaster money for the NE states[over 79 days since hurricane] where all their wealthy’s money comes from for politicans elections, maybe they will keep their pocketbooks closed and help their neighbors. Republicans are the ones who need a mental evaluation and maybe voters who vote for anything with a “R” behind his name. Red state folks better get on your knees and pray for no hurricanes/tornados/floods in your area because you are on your own. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Reread Ryan budget 2011 which all republicans voted for in house and senate to voucherize medicare, cut medicaid, cut veterans benefits, they want to cut social security inlation increases, food stamps.
Where are good paying jobs the tea party promised in 2010?
Solution : Prepare for next election/2014:::Register everybody in georgia and run someone against every republican in local, state and federal office, educate voters on repub., influence from wealthy outsiders/their behavior toward programs for you if you are not rich. vote in every election. State and local politicians who make good pay and benefits probably have more control over your everyday life than what washington does.


January 16th, 2013
6:29 pm


True and truly sad.


January 16th, 2013
7:29 pm

Enter your comments here


January 16th, 2013
7:44 pm

@ Buymadeinusjobs

January 16th, 2013
6:03 pm
off topic::170 of red state house tea party republicans in Washington voted against Hurricane Sandy disaster money for the NE states[over 79 days since hurricane] where all their wealthy’s money comes from for politicans elections, maybe they will keep their pocketbooks closed and help their neighbors.

Maybe if the DEMOCRATS hadn’t loaded up the bill with billions for their other pet project. . . which had NOTHING to do with the hurricane Sandy devestation, then congress would have passed the bill, which they did pass $9 billion for Hurrican Sandy destruction.
You will be quite pleased to know, the bill has passed. . . for the additional $50 billion. WHERE EVER it may eventually go. What ever happened to neighbors helping neighbors in times of disaster with donations?


January 16th, 2013
9:28 pm

Mentally ill people are not the problem because most mentally ill people are not violent. Governor Deal wants to make schools an armed camp…how long will it be before some unhappy kid takes the teacher’s gun off her hip and causes another problem. Guns in the classroom will not create the safe environment that some children have come to see as a have from the outside world and sometimes from their own families. Do not let this governor who is blocking funding for poor people to have medical care add to the problems that keep this state in a constant crisis.


January 16th, 2013
10:54 pm

Unbelievable. Could we have mental health assessment requirements for elected officials?

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January 17th, 2013
5:23 am

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January 17th, 2013
9:54 am

I guarantee that Lapierre and the NRA are gettng huge kickbacks from gun and ammo manufacturers…It’s all an ugly ponzy scheme!

And, like Galloway just said on the radio, arming administrators is a fake solution ‘on the cheap’. If conservatives cared about kids they would raise taxes and have real officers at schools not this bull of having administrators do it. THEY HAVE OTHER JOBS!
I am a Liberal who is in favor of all of the gun control measures being considered by the Obama administration and more, BUT!

I am really tired of the ‘no compromise ever’ attitude of the Left at this moment.

If we ‘the Left’ showed a little embracement of their ’security guard’ idea, we could use it to win on many other gun issues, including stopping what some states and municipalities are already doing…arming teachers and administrators. That is dangerous. If we promoted ’security guards at schools’ over arming teachers etc. that would be a good thing for all.

Armed guards instead of ‘carry at will’ would lead to fewer guns on the streets because it satisfies many gun owners urge to arm the general public. It is a fact that if ‘the Left’ joined ‘the Right’ on this it would move congress closer to enacting the gun control issues most of America wants.

We on the Left want many significant changes in our present system of controlling fire arms available to the public. If we don’t find SOMETHING to give back in return, we will not get what we want.

No major university, from the University of Georgia (where I work) to Virginia Tech (where my wife worked) is going to consider eliminating their campus police force. So, it’s not a ‘crazy idea’ for conservatives to suggest some similar version of security at our public schools. We can and should talk about this, along with all of the other changes on the board.

We have to do this together if it is to be done.

Gary Felder

January 17th, 2013
10:30 am

What no one is talking about is that mental health screening is FAR from an exact science. In addition to the vast tax expenditures will take to “screen” all of Georgia’s ten million citizens to assess for “mental wellness,” mental diagnoses vary drastically among mental health practitioners within, as well as outside of, the U.S. Many people who have committed horrific acts of violence were thought of as relatively “normal” before the act. I find it frightening that the NRA and Georgia Republicans are putting their primary efforts and faith in unreliable psychiatric diagnoses to try to stop the epidemic of gun violence.


January 17th, 2013
2:44 pm

@Aeslop’s Fables and other Lib Economic Theories provides the typical NRA litany of incidents that supposedly prove some vague point about how the whole ever-lovin’ world should have a firearm attached to their soul, but he doesn’t mention the precipitants – how the perps got their guns, how they believed that guns were a solution to their problems, and how their problems began. Naw, instead, it’s more important to have a monolithic “tally sheet” that can be swallowed hook, line, and stinker.

He/she might be surprised to find that mental screenings would have been useless in most of the cases. Much gun violence occurs because of situational changes that simply aren’t measurable in a longitudinal sense, particularly in partner relationships. However, there is a commonality, as stated above – every one of these people saw guns as a solution to their problems. In this regard, they differ not a whit from Governor Deal, AeslopsFables, and others who advocate increased armed presence as a solution to this problem.

So the bottom line is this – as long as guns are glorified as the solution to problems instead of the instigation of problems and a last-resort alternative, nothing will change – more children and innocents will continue to die.