Gov. Deal signs campus carry bill; Schools, police now face impl - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Gov. Deal signs campus carry bill; Schools, police now face implementation

(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

Gov. Nathan Deal has signed a campus carry bill, which permits licensed gun holders to carry firearms in specific and limited areas on college campuses.

The bill, HB 280, was passed overwhelmingly in the Georgia Assembly.

It was an updated bill from the previous HB 589, which didn't go far enough to prohibit firearms in "sensitive places," according to the governor's office, including preschools, disciplinary hearings, and faculty and administrative offices.

As a result, the previous bill was vetoed by Gov. Deal.

“It is altogether appropriate that weapons not be allowed in sensitive areas on college campuses, and I appreciate the thoughtful consideration given by the General Assembly in expanding these excluded areas within a college campus in this year’s bill,” said Deal.

“While HB 280 addresses the rights and restrictions relating to weapons carry license holders on a college campus, it in effect may have greater significance for students who are going to or coming from a campus. Unfortunately, in parts of the state, the path to higher education travels through dangerous territory," Deal said.

“At the present time, assailants can, and do, target these students knowing full well that their victims are not permitted to carry protection, even those who are weapons carry license holders, because they are either going to or coming from a campus where no weapons are allowed. In recent years, we’ve witnessed college students fall victim to violent attacks in or while traveling to libraries and academic buildings, and while traveling to and from their homes to class.

Georgia's public university presidents and police chiefs were strongly opposed the bill. It now falls on them to figure out how to implement it before the next school year begins. Every campus will be a collection of places where guns are allowed, or prohibited.

Campus police say their jobs will be more difficult under the law.

It does do some things to reduce the number of places guns are allowed. No one, including weapons carry license holders, can carry a concealed weapon in the following areas of college campuses:

  • Buildings or property used for athletic sporting events.
  • Student housing, including but not limited to dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses.
  • Any preschool or childcare space.
  • Any room or space being used for classes related to a college and career academy or other specialized schools.
  • Any room or space used for classes in which high school students are enrolled through a dual enrollment program, including, but not limited to, classes related to the “Move on When Ready Act.”
  • Any faculty, staff, or administrative offices, and rooms where disciplinary proceedings are conducted. 

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