It’s now up to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to decide whether licensed gun owners may carry concealed handguns on the state’s college campuses.
Both chambers of the Georgia General Assembly closed out this year’s legislative session Thursday, March 30 in closed-door huddles, hammering out a compromise campus carry measure, formally known as House Bill 280. Both finally voted late Thursday night, approving the compromise.
The House tally was 96-70, with five representatives not voting and nine excused, while the Senate vote was 33-21, with one excused, according to the General Assembly’s website.
“I think it is an important step forward four our Second Amendment rights in the state of Georgia,” said State Rep. Mandi Ballinger, R-Canton, the bill’s sponsor, in an article carried by The Associated Press.
HB 280 went to the governor’s office on Friday, March 31 with a 40-day deadline to sign, veto or let it become law without his signature, the AP reported.
Deal, a Republican, vetoed a similar bill last year. Anti-gun-violence advocates said they hoped Deal would do likewise with the latest campus-carry bill, adding that nothing has changed since last year.
But this year’s final bill includes exemptions for on-campus preschools and facilities where high school pupils can take college classes, explained U.S. Law Shield of Georgia Independent Program Attorney Matt Kilgo. The exemptions were requested by Deal in the wake of last year’s veto, Kilgo said.
Last year’s bill also exempted student housing, including fraternity and sorority houses, and athletic facilities, and so does the revised HB 280, Kilgo said.
The General Assembly also sent two more gun bills to Deal’s desk.
On Tuesday, March 28, both chambers approved HB 292, which shields firearm instructors from being sued if a former student causes injuries with a gun, either carelessly or illegally. It also prevents probate judges from suspending or hindering the approval process for weapon licenses and facilitates and simplifies reciprocity agreements with other states.
Also Tuesday, lawmakers in both chambers approved House Bill 406—a reciprocity bill for concealed-handgun permit holders from Virginia. Gov. Deal signed it on April 15.
To contact the governor to register your wishes on the campus carry bill, phone Gov. Deal’s office at (404) 656-1776 or fax him at (404) 657-7332. You may also email him by clicking here to open a contact form for his office. — by Bill Miller, Contributor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield blog