The right to carry a firearm on Georgia college campuses is one step closer to a reality. Sponsored largely by Rep. Mandi Ballinger, the bill would improve gun rights by allowing Georgians in possession of a concealed firearms permit to carry weapons on campuses across the state. Earlier this month, the bill passed through the House on a vote of 108 for the bill with 63 against the bill.
In support of her take on the bill, Ballinger cited a rise in crimes reported on Georgia campuses, including “rape, robbery and aggravated assault.” She also cited statistics indicating that suicides and “criminal shootings” did not rise on other U.S. universities where carrying a gun is permitted.
Opponents of the bill say that is it not “a constitutional right” to carry a weapon on college grounds. Rep. Robert Trammel argued against the bill by listing some of the areas that the carry bill might affect. These include on-campus pre-schools, sporting events and campus housing. Rep. Scott Holcomb voiced his agreement by saying the carry bill is “not covered by the Second Amendment.”
Rep. Alan Powell countered these constitutional-based arguments. He cited the broad gun rights legislation passed several years ago in Georgia, pointing out that those changes did not lead to a “rash of shootings.”
The General Assembly adopted a similar campus carry bill in 2016 but Governor, Nathan Deal, vetoed it. The current bill will now move on to the Georgia Senate.
Until Georgia gun rights reach a balance that satisfies the majority, arguments about the right to carry will continue. You should also know that a criminal conviction could affect your right to carry in the eyes of the law. For this reason and many others, it is wise to seek a legal opinion if are facing criminal charges in Georgia.