By Alex Pinckney
On July 1, 2017, House Bill 280, nicknamed the campus carry bill, was put into effect. This law will allow individuals to conceal carry a gun on the campuses of public Georgia colleges and universities. Those eligible to carry a gun are people who own a firearm license and are 21 and over. Under this law, guns are not permitted in locations where sports events are held, residence halls, sorority and fraternity houses, childcare centers, classrooms where dual-enrolled high schoolers may be present, and administrative offices. The newly passed legislation will not affect private schools such as Emory University and Berry College.
The response to the newly passed legislation has been mixed across the state. One UGA junior feels uncomfortable with the bill, stating that “the only reason [she] would want a gun on campus is to protect herself from the people who will now be carrying guns on campus.” She desires to keep guns in the hands of police officers, as they have been trained.
Another student states that he is in favor of the bill from both a defense and constitutional standpoint. According to the AJC, the eight of the United States’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred on college campuses since 1966. He wants the ability to protect himself and others if need be. Additionally, the second amendment of the Constitution grants his right to bear arms – he does not want the government to take away a right they can legally exercise as adults. Moreover, a series of sexual assault incidents across college campuses has led females to support the law, for it gives them an additional means of protecting themselves when alone on campus.
More recently, six professors from the University System of Georgia, three of them being UGA professors, have sued Governor Nathan Deal over the law, stating that it is unconstitutional. The lawsuit claims that because the Georgia Constitution grants jurisdiction of Georgia public schools to the Board of Regents, the General Assembly does not have the right to pass such a law. The six professors claim that with the passing of this law, the Georgia legislature has overstepped its authority.
There have been no recent developments on the suing process, and Gov. Nathan Deal has declined to comment.