Georgia governor signs campus gun measure

0
357
AP/The Tulsa World/James Gibbard

Gov. Nathan Deal today signed HB 280, which permits weapons carry license holders to carry firearms in specific and limited areas on college campuses.

This legislation addressed major concerns voiced by the governor last year regarding HB 859, which permitted a weapons carry license holder to carry a concealed weapon into certain areas of a college campus that had previously been prohibited. HB 859 failed, however, to address Deal’s concerns regarding the prohibition of firearms in “sensitive places,” including campus preschools, disciplinary hearings, or faculty and administrative offices. As a result, the legislation was vetoed.

This year, the General Assembly overwhelmingly passed HB 280, which maintains the same restrictions present in HB 859. It also addresses the areas of campus over which Deal previously raised concerns, along with additional areas of college campuses where weapons would not be permitted.

“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.

“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.

“As this legislation is more narrowly tailored as to exclude areas on a college campus, I’ve signed HB 280.”

The signing statement is available under “Related Files” below.

HB 280 prohibits the carrying of a concealed weapon by anyone, including weapons carry license holders, on the following areas of a college campus:

– 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 school;
– 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.