For the second year in a row, Georgia lawmakers passed a controversial bill that allows licensed gun owners to carry concealed firearms on public college and university campuses.
House Bill 280 permits adults over the age of 21 who have a concealed weapons permit to carry a gun on public campuses. Exceptions were written in for public college sporting events, student housing such as dorms, fraternities and sororities, and space that may be shared or used by preschool and high school-age students.
The measure passed the state’s House during the final day of Georgia’s legislative session. The Senate passed the bill earlier in the week.
It now goes to Gov. Nathan Deal, who vetoed similar legislation last year. He questioned whether guns on campus would increase student safety.
“From the early days of our nation and state, colleges have been treated as sanctuaries of learning where firearms have not been allowed. To depart from such time-honored protections should require overwhelming justification. I do not find that such justification exists,” Deal said in a statement last May.
Conservatives and Second Amendment activists cast the bill as a crucial measure for members of the school community to protect themselves.
Opponents, including the University System of Georgia chancellor, have spoken out against it. Critics say that arming students isn’t the solution for enhancing their safety.