House Bill 280, known as the Campus Carry bill, is back in the state agenda. Georgia House of Representatives first heard the bill at the beginning of February and has now been read in the Senate and passed to committee.
Many of the concerns when this bill was first introduced last year involved college students not having the mental and emotional stability to handle the responsibility, campus police can handle dangerous or violent situations so carrying a handgun isn’t necessary, and police would have a difficult time telling the bad guy from the person shooting in self-defense.
“Obviously I carry a gun for work and, personally, I own firearms and I do have them for home protection but, I’ll be honest, I don’t carry one every time I go out,” Laura McCullough, Chief of the Georgia Southern University Police Department, said. “As much as I believe in the right to own guns I feel like there needs to be an educational component to having a firearms license in the state of Georgia and there’s not right now.”
Chief McCullough has worked as an officer of the peace in a university setting for 17 years and believes Georgia is behind other states when it comes to gun safety and permit applications. Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia are the only states in the southeast that do not require live-fire training in the process of issuing concealed carry permits.
Campus Carry will allow those with conceal carry permits to carry a handgun on campuses, with the exception of athletic events, student housing, fraternity and sorority houses. Firearms will not be allowed near preschool building, either, unless there are three or more buildings dedicated to preschool on the campus.
The bill defines “concealed” carry as not actively bringing attention to the firearm and “carrying on one’s person while such handgun is substantially, but not necessarily completely, covered by an article of clothing which is worn by such person.” Conceal carry also includes the handgun being carried in a bag or purse or in any other discrete manner.