Campus Carry

Photo of handgun in backpack taken in Athens, Ga., on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014.(PHOTO: © 2014 Randy Schafer, randy.drum.schafer@gmail.com)

A bill allowing guns on college campuses passed the Georgia House Friday.

House Bill 280, which looks to allow weapons carry license holders to carry firearms virtually anywhere on college campuses, passed by a vote of 108-63.

Under the bill, proposed by Rep. Mandi Ballinger, permit holders could carry everywhere on college campuses, except in student housing, Greek houses, sporting venues, and preschool space. The latter exemption was added in response to Gov. Deal's concerns about a similar bill, House Bill 859, last year, which he vetoed after state-wide protests.

The drafted bill has remained largely unchanged on its way through the House committees, with only one change to the number of buildings allowed for preschool exemption consideration.

Under the bill, the exemption of the space at the entrance of an advertised preschool space shall not apply if the university "has more than three buildings on the campus housing preschool space." In the original draft, that number was restricted to one building.

HB 859 was met with a large opposition last year from students, faculty, campus law enforcement and the University System of Georgia. HB 280 has been met with similar opposition, with USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley speaking before the Public Safety and Homeland Security committee against the bill.

"With respect to campus carry, we feel strongly current law strikes the right balance to provide security on our campuses," he told legislators. "We therefore respectfully oppose any change to current law."

University of Georgia President Jere Morehead later released an ArchNews statement supporting Wrigley's testimony.

The bill will now move to the Georgia Senate.