Here’s how Georgia’s ‘campus carry’ gun bill is likely to be changed today in committee

2:35 p.m Thursday, March 16, 2017 AJC Homepage
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A bill to allow firearms on Georgia’s public college and university campuses is likely to be amended this afternoon to exempt areas on some campuses where high schoolers attend class, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

If approved, the move by the Senate Judiciary Committee would effectively allow House Bill 280 to move forward while also giving lawmakers more time to negotiate with Gov. Nathan Deal over a possible compromise.

It comes as the bill was tentatively added Thursday afternoon to the committee’s previously posted 4 p.m. agenda

The expected change is directed at students who attend high schools such as state college and career academies that are located directly on a handful of technical college campuses across Georgia, according to a high-ranking Senate official with direct knowledge of the change but who was not authorized to speak publicly.

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It would not apply to the surrounding campus, but just to the buildings that house the ninth- through 12th-graders.

It does not, however, include campuses where high school students are taking class as part of general dual-enrollment programs.

The state House passed HB 280 two weeks ago. A committee change in the Senate prolongs the bill’s path toward final passage, since the House would need to agree or seek a conference committee to work out details.

The measure would allow those 21 and older with a Georgia weapons permit to carry concealed weapons on most parts of college campuses, not including dormitories, sorority and fraternity houses, athletic events and on-campus child care centers.

Critics of campus carry say the legislation could potentially create unsafe environments for students and faculty.

Deal vetoed a similar measure last year, and has signaled that he would prefer additional exemptions to the bill that include faculty and administrative office space as well as disciplinary hearings.

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