Georgia lawmakers are again trying to let licensed gun owners carry concealed handguns on public college campuses.
House Bill 280 is an attempt similar to last year in allowing handguns on campuses.
Rep. Emory Dunahoo, R-Gainesville, who supported the bill last year before its eventual veto by Gov. Nathan Deal, said he is again supporting the legislation.
“It’s a shame when you walk out and you meet with young people at Georgia State and Georgia Tech,” Dunahoo said. “They come to your office and tell you, ‘We’re tired of walking around being harassed. We’re tired of being robbed in our library.’”
The bill exempts sports stadiums and student housing. According to a cover sheet, 15 members of the House co-sponsored the bill by Rep. Mandi Ballinger, R-Canton.
Ballinger co-sponsored a bill last year allowing handguns on Georgia’s college campuses. Deal said in his veto messages that colleges are “sanctuaries of learning” where guns haven’t been allowed.
“It’s still a dangerous world, and people who are on college campuses need to be able to protect themselves,” said Jerry Henry, GeorgiaCarry.org’s executive director.
Henry said the group is also concerned with often unclear demarcations between campuses and public property, like colleges in downtown Atlanta.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Georgia is among 17 states banning concealed weapons on campuses.
Ballinger’s proposal mirrors last year’s bill aside from exempting preschools. Deal last year said that he was concerned about child care facilities on campuses.
“My opinion of the bill is it should also be vetoed, because it’s 95 percent the same as the one that was vetoed before,” said University of North Georgia professor Matthew Boedy, who advocated against the campus carry bill last year.
On July 1, House Bill 792 became law, which allowed those 18 or older enrolled at a public college to carry electroshock weapons. Some saw the electroshock weapons law as a “campus carry lite” in the face of the vetoed bill.
Boedy said he has invited state legislators in favor of the bill to speak to his class.
“I can only hope that the University System (of Georgia) and the faculty put forth the same effort they did last time to block it, but we’ll have to see,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.