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US Republican Governor Vetoes Campus Gun Carry Bill

FILE - Georgia Governor Nathan Deal during a press conference in Atlanta to announce he has vetoed legislation allowing clergy to refuse performing gay marriage and protecting people who refuse to attend the ceremonies, March 28, 2016.

The governor of Georgia has vetoed a controversial bill backed by his Republican colleagues that would have allowed college students to carry concealed guns on campuses across the state.

Tuesday's veto came nearly a month after Nathan Deal angered religious conservatives in his state by vetoing so-called religious liberty legislation that would have extended legal protections to opponents of same-sex marriages.

In his veto message Tuesday, Deal attached a note questioning the efficacy of the gun legislation.

"If the intent of House Bill 859 is to increase the safety of students on college campuses, it is highly questionable that such would be the result," Del said in a statement.

He also issued an executive order for higher education leaders in the state to report on campus security measures by August.

Conservatives had long-pushed for the gun measure, known as the Campus Carry bill, describing it as a vital safety measure aimed at protecting students, faculty and administrators.

Critics have ridiculed the measure, warning that Campus Carry would threaten public safety and open the door to a potential spike in campus violence.

Deal came under intense pressure in March from major U.S. corporations to veto the religious liberty legislation, which had easily been approved by Georgia's Republican-dominated legislature.

An array of companies, including the Disney entertainment conglomerate and technology giants Apple and Intel, threatened to limit or withdraw from business in the state, if the bill were signed.

The companies said the religious liberty legislation would tacitly approve discrimination.