Georgia Puts Guns Back In Campuses, Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing Concealed Handguns In Colleges
Georgia lawmakers passed the "campus carry" gun bill on Friday. If approved at the governor's office, the bill will give licensed gun owners above the age of 21 the permission to carry concealed handguns in public colleges and universities.
Lawmakers approved the campus carry bill, HB 280, at the end of the legislative session after several deliberations. Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a similar bill last year as it failed to convince him on how the law would keep students safe around campus.
HB 280, however, addressed the governor's concerns. Cited in the bill were exemptions as campus carry doesn't cover university residences and dorms, fraternity and sorority houses, shared sites with preschools or highs schools in the campus and sporting events facilities, as per CNN. Campus carry also doesn't cover private colleges and universities.
Students for Campus Carry Director Robert Eagar said these exemptions were but minor fixes and he's hoping it will be approved and amended, too. His group appealed to the governor to sign the bill passed on his table.
"I think this would give students, faculty and staff the opportunity to defend themselves," the student advocate said, as per USA Today. "If they can carry anywhere else, this would be no different," he added.
Anti-gun violence advocates, however, called on the governor to oppose the bill again. "Governor Deal said that it would 'require overwhelming justification' to allow guns on campus," Lindsey Donovan of Moms Demand Action said, per US News. "That justification didn't exist a year ago and it certainly doesn't exist now."
Governor Deal has 40 days to decide on the campus carry gun bill. Georgia is one of 17 other states across America that disallows guns in schools but pro-gun advocates believe this is a violation of the Second Amendment.
Meanwhile, Georgia lawmakers discussed gun bills at the legislative sessions in the last five years. The state's legislators already passed the bills twice.