State lawmakers passed a bill March 30 allowing licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons at public universities.
The “campus carry” bill now finds its way to the desk of Gov. Nathan Deal, who vetoed similar legislation in 2016.
Passing the state House on the final day of Georgia’s legislative session, House Bill 280 would allow individuals over the age of 21 with a concealed weapons permit to carry a gun on public college and university campuses. Repeating the same exclusions as last year’s version, the bill prohibits guns at athletic events, in student housing, and in fraternity or sorority houses.
To appease some of the governor’s concerns cited in 2016, however, legislators added that guns would not be allowed in on-campus daycare or preschool facilities. They would also be prohibited in any place used by high school students for dual-enrollment or other learning programs.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the bill would also include exemptions for offices or rooms used for disciplinary hearings and professor or instructor offices, more exemptions that Deal requested for last year.
Much like the previous legislation, HB 280 has been met with public scrutiny. The AJC reported that opponents to the bill have increased their campaign by releasing a letter laying out arguments in support of Deal’s veto in 2016.
The governor has 40 days from the end of the session — beginning Friday, March 31 — to either sign or veto the campus carry bill. If Deal does nothing, the bill automatically becomes law without his signature.
The Sentinel will continue to post updates as they become available.