ATLANTA, GEORGIA — The Georgia House voted in another win for concealed carry licensees when they passed House Bill 859, commonly called, “The Campus Safety Act,” legalizing concealed handguns on Georgia college and university campuses.
After a short one and a half hour debate, the Georgia House approved the measure, introduced by Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, by a 113-59 vote and now heads to the state Senate for consideration
If passed by the Senate, which seems likely, the bill will allow anyone over then age of 21 with a concealed carry license to carry a concealed handgun anywhere except dorms, fraternity and sorority houses, and athletic events, on any of the state’s 29 public college and university campuses.
A sweeping expansion of Georgia gun laws in 2014, dubbed the “Guns Everywhere Bill,” had the campus carry language stripped from the bill before passing with a 112-58 vote.
A recent uplift, however, in criminal activity in the Georgia Capitol area, including several gun-point robberies at the Georgia State University library, just a few blocks away from the Capitol building, saw students and lawmakers supporting the latest measure in increasing numbers.
As with most concealed carry and self-defense measures, this one is not without a vocal opposition. State Rep. Virgil Fludd, D-Tyrone, said the bill would allow weapons with “no instruction, no training, no supervision” and put students “in volatile situations with alcohol and hormones.”
Though it is incumbent on the licensee to seek qualified instruction, the students to whom Fludd refers are already in “volatile situations.” The difference is, now, they will be able to protect themselves.
Even though campus police usually have quicker response times than local police, due primarily to their physical proximity to the crimes, the condensed microcosm that is campus life and the fact that crime on college and university campuses are generally random in nature with no real predictable patterns, make it imperative that students and faculty be afforded the opportunity to defend themselves with a firearm when needed.
Rep. Jasperse declared the bill, “a real world solution to a real world problem.” Clearly, Georgia students and lawmakers agree.