All On Georgia

Campus gun bill clears House committee hurdle

There are just three legislative days remaining before the Crossover day deadline, the point at which legislation must clear its respective chamber to be sent to the opposite legislative body, but on Day 25, a controversial measure cleared a House committee.

The campus carry legislation to allow college students and faculty to carry a firearm on campus passed out the House Public Safety and Homeland Security committee Monday.

Governor Deal vetoed the campus carry legislation in 2016 because of the close proximity of some preschool day care centers on campuses around the state. Legislators did not exempt those facilities from locations where weapons could be carried on campus, but this year, it seems to be a clean sweep.

House Bill 280, sponsored by state representative Mandi Ballinger, omits the daycare centers, but allows anyone over the age of 21 to lawfully carry a weapon on public college and university campuses with the exception of athletic events, fraternity & sorority houses, and dorm buildings. The provision would only apply to persons with a Georgia Weapons Carry Permit. You must be 21 years of age or older OR be a member of the armed forces to obtain a WCP in Georgia.

The similar legislation passed overwhelming during the 2016 legislative session despite the staunch opposition from the Board of Regents and the University System of Georgia. The same opponents have already testified against this year’s legislation as well. Supporters of the bill have long said the state property should not disqualify students from exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Should the bill be signed into law, Georgia would join eight other states in the provision, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi,Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.