Gun rights activists are celebrating yet another victory in state legislation Friday, following the state of Georgia's decision to allow the possession of firearms on their college campuses.
Governor Nathan Deal signed campus carry into law late Thursday, despite vetoing an earlier proposal. The law will go into effect on July 1st and, of course, only applies to law-abiding gun owners 21 years of age or older with a permit.
The law states many exceptions and places where firearms can not be carried. Campus locations include athletic events, student housing, childcare space, classrooms containing high school students enrolled in college programs, and administrative offices in which disciplinary actions are taking place.
Widespread restrictions on the new law, however, make the state of Georgia one of the lesser gun-friendly states when it comes to campus carry, of the ten states which have now permitted it. Regardless, the legislation is a major relief for young Georgians seeking the right to defend themselves while receiving a higher education.
University System of Georgia Board of Regents Chancellor Steve Wrigley issued a statement on the passing of House Bill 280, including his plea for Georgia universities to work together in an effort to enforce the law:
“We recognize that many have strong feelings about this new law. It is important that we all work together across our campuses to implement the new law appropriately and continue to provide a top-quality education to our students.”
The “strong feelings” voiced by opponents include resorting to ridiculous measures like blaming the signing of the bill on the National Rifle Association’s conference which took place in Atlanta. Lindsay Donovan with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America stated in reference to Governor Deal that “he bent to the Washington gun lobby that came to town for a couple of days for a convention rather than listening to his own constituents and campus stakeholders.”
The alternate and much more sensible conclusion of the timing of this law is merely the fact that it has been in the works for months. The Governor’s “flip-flop,” which many attribute to the NRA coming to his home state, actually has to do with a subtle change in the updated version of the bill. Breitbart News states that the bill Governor Deal vetoed lacked the exemption of campus carry in daycare facilities, a measure the Governor felt strongly about. When the change was made, and the bill was introduced again on March 31st, it was signed.
Concealed carry will now be the official policy on campuses in Georgia. “Concealed,” meaning “carried in such a fashion that does not actively solicit the attention of others and is not prominently, openly, and intentionally displayed except for purposes of defense of self or others,” according to the bill.
The bill was sponsored by state Senator Bill Heath and six state representatives. Despite widespread criticism from anti-gun lobbyists and far left university professors and presidents, support of the law can be found on campuses where many students have now gained the right previously stripped from them to defend themselves and those around them.
It is no coincidence that no major gun violence has occurred in areas where gun laws are most lenient, or on any campus of the eight states which currently enforce concealed carry law on college campuses. Earlier this year, Arkansas signed campus carry into law, which will go into effect on September 15th.
Georgia is now the tenth state to make this common sense policy law, with Colorado, Utah, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, and Idaho having already acquired this policy. Ohio Governor John Kasich also signed campus carry into law in December of 2016, but the options for universities to outlaw firearms despite this makes the law almost useless.
Clearly, the passing of this law despite the loopholes which limit firearm use is a major victory for the NRA’s Institute of Legislative Action and advocates for public university safety. In the midst of increased threats of violence on college campuses, I am glad to see that concealed campus carry is trending across the nation.