Tuesday, February 23, 2016

GA: Campus Carry Moves Forward

Yesterday, 22 February, 2016, the Georgia House passed a campus safety act that restores some of the Second Amendment rights to people who have a Georgia Weapons Carry License (WCL).  In 2014, a gun law reform bill passed that seemed to allow carry on campus for people with a WCL, but the wording allowed for ambiguity of interpretation.  The reform passed by the house yesterday is clear and unambiguous. From HB859(pdf):
 15 "(19)(A) Any license holder when he or she is in any building or on real property
16 owned by or leased to any public technical school, vocational school, college, or
17 university, or other public institution of postsecondary education; provided, however,
18 that such exception shall:
19 (i) Not apply to buildings or property used for athletic sporting events or student
20 housing, including, but not limited to, fraternity and sorority houses;
21 (ii) Only apply to the carrying of handguns which a licensee is licensed to carry
22 pursuant to subsection (h) of Code Section 16-11-126 and pursuant to Code Section
23 16-11-129; and
24 (iii) Only apply to the carrying of handguns which are concealed.
The bill passed with overwhelming margins, nearly 2-1.  From ajc.com:
The state House voted Monday to legalize carrying concealed guns on Georgia’s college campuses.

State Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, led the charge for House Bill 859, a piece of legislation he has informally dubbed the state’s Campus Safety Act: “It’s a real world solution to a real world problem,” Jasperse said. “In today’s world, it’s a must.”

But in an hour-and-a-half debate before the 113-59 vote, House Democrats said the bill would allow the weapons with “no instruction, no training, no supervision,” said state Rep. Virgil Fludd, D-Tyrone. “We’re putting (students) in volatile situations with alcohol and hormones.”
The campus safety act was strongly supported by Georgia Carry, a group that supports Second Amendment rights in Georgia.  From georgiacarry.org:
Summary of HB 859

Would allow Campus Carry:
  • Except in buildings or property used for athletic sporting events & student housing including, but not limited to, fraternity & sorority houses
  • Only allows licensed carriers to carry on campus
  • Only allows concealed carry
GeorgiaCarry.Org Opinion on HB 859
  • GCO Strongly Supports this legislation
The Campus Safety Act now goes to the Georgia Senate.  If it passes there, it will go to Governor Deal.  Governor Nathan Deal has been a Second Amendment friendly Governor; it is likely that he would sign the legislation into law.

The reform movement that is restoring Second Amendment rights on the public property of universities and colleges is gaining ground.  Texas passed a campus carry act last year; it will go into effect on 1 August of 2016 for four year colleges, and a year later for Junior colleges. 

The Georgia bill largely conforms with the goals of  Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, a group that was formed after the 2007 Virginal Tech Massacre.  The movement has had considerable success, with reforms passing in Idaho, Wisconsin, Texas and Kansas, and with successful court challenges in Colorado.  The Florida House passed a campus carry bill by a large margin this year; it appears to have been killed by Senator Portilla R-Miami, chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.  Link to Gun Watch

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