Guns on campus bill meets greater resistance now that it passes House and moves to Senate

Should Georgia allow guns on its college campuses? (AJC file photo)

Should Georgia allow guns on its college campuses? (AJC file photo)

While the guns on campus bill sailed through the House, it’s encountering greater resistance on its journey over to the Senate. Passage in both chambers of the General Assembly is necessary for a bill to become a law.

House Bill 512, the Safe Carry Protection Act, would permit guns in in bars, churches, parts of college campuses and into unsecured government buildings, including courthouses.

The bill was opposed by the chancellor of the University System of Georgia. “I am suggesting that adding loaded weapons to an already potentially volatile mix of youthful exuberance, stress, and yes, at times alcohol and other factors, could lead to a tragedy of our own making that we could otherwise avoid,” Chancellor Hank Huckaby told lawmakers.

He didn’t make much headway with them. The bill won overwhelming approval in the House last week, passing 117-56, largely along party lines.

The bill’s success in the House appears to have energized opponents, according to the AJC’s Laura Diamond and Kristina Torres:

They write:

Members of the state Board of Regents, which governs the state’s powerful University System of Georgia, took an unusually public stance Tuesday in opposition to HB 512: All 18 members signed a formal letter to legislative leaders and Deal saying they were “deeply concerned” about the bill.

“We firmly believe the current law promotes a safe learning environment for our students and working environment for our faculty and staff,” the letter said. “Our unanimous recommendation is to retain the law in its current form. We kindly ask the legislature to consider our request.”

Deal, through a spokesman, offered support only for one portion of the bill aimed at strengthening the rules about how people with mental illness qualify for a weapons “carry” license. “It expands the population who will be flagged by an instant background check, which the governor believes will protect innocent Georgians,” Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said.

Georgia judges have also begun to speak out.

“We deal at times with very emotional situations,” including murder cases when families of the deceased and the accused face off in court, said David Emerson, president of the Georgia Council of Superior Court Judges and a Superior Court judge in Douglas County.

Emerson said he is aware that while the law forbids guns from being taken into courthouses, the legislation would allow an exception by licensed holders when there is no security guard there during business hours.

“This opens the door for someone to go in and leave a weapon for someone at a later time,” he said.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

14 comments Add your comment

AJC isn't me

March 13th, 2013
10:56 am

Liberal laws have put too many kooks out on the street. And even infused them with an entitlement mentality, making the compulsion toward mass murder even easier to give in to.

Until these wrong-headed liberal policy errors are overcome—arming to protect oneself and one’s family is natural.

The reason you won’t hear liberals talking about how crime figures “went up under similar laws elsewhere” … is because the OPPOSITE is true in most instances.

Andy Pelosi

March 13th, 2013
10:56 am

The University System, faculty, faith leaders, judges and students are all speaking out against HB 512. If you also oppose this legislation, sign our petition: http://signon.org/sign/georgians-tell-the-state?source=c.url&r_by=236359

Six Shooter

March 13th, 2013
11:21 am

Wonder how many judges are packing heat as they sit in the courtroom….when applying for CC in Dekalb County there were two judges doing the same thing.

Angela

March 13th, 2013
11:33 am

Having guns on any school properity is just down right STUPID. Just think if one of those parents come into the school and the teacher is not having a so good day they just might shoot. Just like a student on student on a college campus. And, the government is suppose to have some of the most and best educated individuals. STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

catlady

March 13th, 2013
11:46 am

This bill further cements the Georgia Leglislature’s repulation of being the stupidest SOBs around.

H

March 13th, 2013
11:55 am

Some common sense should rule in these circumstances. Most shootings have occurred in the gun free zones set up by our Legislators. Also in following VP Biden’s advice of using a double barreled shotgun; it is difficult to do in one”s purse or bookbag and also is cumbersome. Safety & Security must have an opportunity to be accessible for the greater good of all against mental deranged or depressed people,etc.

jerry eads

March 13th, 2013
1:13 pm

I only have skin in the game concerning the university system; limiting my comments to that, on balance I’d just as soon NOT have concealed carry “allowed” on campus. Any rational person understands that that won’t stop someone from bringing a weapon on campus; it’ll only limit carry by honest individuals. Nevertheless, risks are very, very low, and at least my campus has what seems to be a superb police crew. They of course won’t prevent a disaster though if they’re lucky they might limit it. Fact remains that in Georgia folks don’t even have to know which end to point to get a CC permit, and as long as that’s the case, I’m happy for the campuses and the legislature to do what they can to keep weapons in the car trunks and at home.

Angela

March 13th, 2013
3:47 pm

In every school in the USG, we seek to exchange knowledge, not gunfire.

This is not a partisan issue. It’s a human one.

Calka

March 13th, 2013
7:05 pm

So it’s okay to be able to tell people that they have to smoke somewhere else but it is not okay to tell them they are not allowed to carry guns in certain areas?

Mountain Man

March 14th, 2013
7:35 am

“Nevertheless, risks are very, very low, and at least my campus has what seems to be a superb police crew.”

You obviously don’t go to Georgia Tech.

Mountain Man

March 14th, 2013
7:42 am

“Wonder how many judges are packing heat as they sit in the courtroom”

After the Brian Nichols incident, I would hope they all are.

And to think he is still alive and ready to escape and commit more atrocities. Thank you two stealth death penalty opponents on the jury. Any crimes he commits in prison or if he escapes are on YOUR head.

Truth in Moderation

March 14th, 2013
9:57 am

“Deal, through a spokesman, offered support only for one portion of the bill aimed at strengthening the rules about how people with mental illness qualify for a weapons “carry” license. “It expands the population who will be flagged by an instant background check, which the governor believes will protect innocent Georgians,” Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said.”

“MENTAL ILLNESS”

Exactly what is the governor talking about? HB 512 makes SPECIFIC reference to “mental hospitals”, drug rehab centers, and the “DEPARTMENT OF BEHAVIORAL HEALTH.” So, WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF “BEHAVIORAL HEALTH?” It is NOT defined in the bill. It is NOT mental illness. Why is this in the bill in the first place?

We do not know anything about Adam Lanza’s health. HIS PUBLIC SCHOOL RECORDS AND ANY IEP DATA HAVE BEEN SEALED. All we know IS HEARSAY. The toxicology report has not been released by CN Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Carver.

Yet, Lanza has been tried in the court of public opinion. His body was not autopsied until the afternoon of DECEMBER 16th, TWO DAYS after the alleged shootings. This is verified by two witnesses in the CT morgue. How would this affect a toxicology report?

It is known that SSRI drugs, frequently prescribed for patients will brain dysfunction, can have dangerous side-affects. LET’S EXAMINE THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES FIRST.
ht tp://www.opednews.com/articles/Prescription-Drugs-Are-Oft-by-Martha-Rosenberg-130114-633.html

Lee

March 14th, 2013
12:16 pm

Looking at that picture of the UGA arch, you can tell that it is an open campus. Most public campuses in Ga are. In that case, I don’t think it appropriate to restrict the rights of law abiding citizens to carry weapons pursuant to Ga law.

I.e., if I’m legal to carry walking down the public sidewalk, I don’t think I should be a criminal if I step two feet off the sidewalk onto the campus grass.

I also think students should be allowed to have weapons in their cars, again, pursuant to Ga law.

That said, there are areas, such as dormatories, which are secure and have limited access. When my daughter attended UGA, her dorm had a 24 hour attendent (albeit a student) and a security system that included biometric locks on the entry doors. I that scenario, I have no problem with the college prohibiting weapons because it is not open to the public.

I also don’t know what the current rules or laws are about students carrying pepper sprays or non-lethal protection such as Tazers, but I think they should be allowed at least that minimum level of protection.

All the above applies to public colleges and universities. Private schools are just that – private property owners and they should be allowed to accept or ban at their discretion.

bri

March 19th, 2013
9:06 am

if they really do this, its gonna be worse than the sandy hook shooting