The Georgia Senate Judiciary Committee has passed House Bill 859 by a 5-3 vote. The bill would amend existing law to remove campus restrictions, allowing licensed gun owners over 21 years of age to legally carry a gun around campus. A restriction would remain in place for athletic facilities and student housing, including fraternity and sorority houses.
In an effort to dissuade Georgia’s leaders from passing the bill, Everytown for Gun Safety began airing a commercial titled “Bad Decisions” in Atlanta over the past weekend.
The Senate Judiciary Committee hosted a three hour meeting on the measure last week where the most vocal opponent, Hank Huckaby, chancellor of the University System of Georgia, said he had concerns about students’ maturity and safety on campus.
“There is a lot of anger and a lot of fear, but I feel like we are more about empowering students to be able to take responsibility for their personal safety,” bill co-sponsor Rep. Mandi Ballinger said.
Currently, seven other states allow people to carry concealed weapons on college campuses: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin.
The bill, having passed in the House, now moves on to Georgia’s Senate where it will be voted on later this week. If it passes without changes, it would go on to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk, who has voiced support for the measure.