Georgia speaker expects campus carry bill to gain quick OK from House

A vote is expected Monday in the Georgia House on a bill to allow guns on the state's public college campuses, and the leader of that chamber expects it to pass.

"When we have armed robberies taking place in campus libraries, right here near this Capitol on multiple occasions, I think there is a real concern out in the state," state House Speaker David Ralston said Friday.

House members will decide whether to approve House Bill 859, which would allow anyone 21 or older with a weapons license to carry a gun anywhere on a public college or university campus, except for inside dormitories, fraternities and sorority houses, and at athletic events. The legislation would also require that the firearms be concealed.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, is opposed by the Board of Regents, which oversees the University System of Georgia. But recent crimes on local campuses, including a spate of armed robberies of students in Georgia State University's library, have led to more support this year for the legislation.

The state House passed campus carry legislation two years ago, Ralston said, and he’s “hopeful” state representatives will pass it again Monday. The Senate removed that campus carry provision from gun expansion legislation during debate in 2014.

“I think that developments of violence on college campuses here in the state have strengthened the resolve of the House,” Ralston said. “I expect it will be approved Monday.”

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