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The Georgia Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that five professors’ challenge to a law allowing guns on public college and university campuses is moot because the University System of Georgia Board of Regents passed a compliant policy.

The ruling upheld a lower court’s dismissal of the professors’ lawsuit.

“After the governor approved HB 280,” the court majority wrote, “the board’s chancellor provided guidance to USG institutions to ‘implement the law as written’ and called for each institution to ‘review its campus conduct and weapons policies to ensure that they comply with these changes to the law.’ The Board of Regents then amended its Policy Manual and adopted a weapons policy, applicable to all USG institutions, that largely mirrored the 2017 statutory amendments.”

The majority wrote, “The crux of the professors’ constitutional challenge to the 2017 amendment [to state law] is that, in adopting the amendment, the General Assembly, to the detriment of the USG’s educational mission, ‘usurp[ed] the Board of Regents’ constitutionally conferred, exclusive authority over the government, control and management’ of the USG, specifically, the board’s ‘authority to regulate, in its independent judgment, guns on college campuses.’”

“The professors alleged that they are injured by what they deem a ‘separation-of-powers violation,’” which “‘is not mooted by the fact that the encroached-upon entity has acquiesced—or even affirmatively approved of—the encroachment,’” Justice John J. Ellington wrote on behalf of the majority.

But the majority disagreed with the professors’ claim.

“What matters is not why the board adopted the policy in question, but merely that it did do so,” Ellington wrote. “Granting the only relief the professors seek … would not eliminate the harm of which the professors complain, because it would not eliminate the immediate source of that alleged harm—the weapons policy adopted by the board.”

The University System of Georgia didn’t respond to a question late Thursday afternoon about whether it would have adopted its policy allowing guns if state law hadn’t already been changed to require guns be allowed on campuses.

John Knox, a tenured professor of geography at the University of Georgia, was one of the professors who sued.

“Because the Georgia Supreme Court has ruled and there’s no appeal above that, this really shines a spotlight on where the action should be—is—at the Board of Regents level,” Knox said.

He said there are “thousands and thousands of students on campuses” who struggle with anxiety, depression and, likely, suicidal ideation.

“I think putting that together with campus carry is a potentially lethal mix,” he said.

“I would like to see the Board of Regents eventually come back to a more common-sense interpretation of the role of guns on university campuses,” he said, “but that may take attention from the public and focus from both the public and the media.”