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Johnelle Simpson, a senior risk management and insurance and political science major from Donalsonville, Georgia, addresses the UGA Senate in Athens, Georgia, on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. Simpson is currently serving as the President of the UGA Student Government Association. (Photo/Casey Sykes, csykes95@uga.edu) Johnelle Simpson: simpsoj@uga.edu

During a protest on March 16 at the University of Georgia Arch against Georgia House Bill 859, Student Government Association President Johnelle Simpson said SGA supports UGA President Jere Morehead and University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby, who oppose the bill. 

The bill, also called the campus carry bill, if signed into law by Deal, would allow weapons carry permit holders age 21 or older to legally carry firearms on state college campuses. The Georgia Senate passed the bill March 11 by a 37-18 vote, and it now goes to the governor to be signed into law. 

"One of the platform points of the Momentum executive ticket was to provide a stronger sense of safety and security to our student body and we believe that this bill contradicts our efforts to make campus as safe as possible for students," said the letter, posted to Facebook an hour after the protest. 

Simpson said SGA will send a letter to Deal, hoping it will help him understand universities do not want the legislation. 

"The president of the flagship university doesn't want it, and the students of the flagship institution don't want it, so hopefully it influences him decide to veto it," Simpson said.   

Simpson said the unintended consequences of this bill would be bad. 

"All pieces of legislation have unintended consequences," he said. "In this case, if it's an injury, it's irreversible." 

Simpson said SGA supports Huckaby and Morehead because they are "experts of the university policy."

"If they believe [the bill] is not good for students, if that is one of their concerns, then I believe it is detrimental to the campus community, and it is important to stand against it," he said.

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