Georgia Senate wants to narrow gun legislation

The state Senate has drafted a new version of House Bill 875 that would limit where the legislation expands access to guns in Georgia, including giving more leeway to churches over whether they have to allow weapons in their sanctuaries.

A draft, which has not yet been formally introduced, would give local authorities more control over provisions in the bill that allow guns into “nonsecure” portions of government buildings.

It drops a provision in HB 875 that would make it no longer a crime for permit holders to carry weapons onto college campuses. Instead, it would let governing authorities such as the Georgia Board of Regents decide on the matter — essentially keeping the status quo since the regents and leaders of the powerful University System of Georgia have opposed allowing guns on campus

The Senate’s version would still allow guns in churches. However, it makes the provision an “opt in,” meaning church leaders don’t have to act unless they want to allow weapons. That’s a change from the bill’s current version, which lifts the ban of guns in churches unilaterally unless leaders vote to prohibit them on individual church properties.

The bill would still allow local boards of education to designate a teacher or administrator at each school to be armed.

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