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House of Representatives approves HB512

Written by Amanda Usher

Listen to The Spectator’s exclusive interview below!

Students can now breathe.

House Bill 512 (HB512), also known as the Safe Carry Protection Act, has been denied in the Senate and will be brought up again during next year’s legislative session.

According to State Rep. Alan Powell, R-Hartwell, under this bill gun owners would’ve been able to carry guns on public college campuses, excluding residence halls or sporting events.

On March 12, VSU President William McKinney announced that he’s against HB 512, formerly HB 29.

Included in the email was a list of people’s names who oppose this bill. On this list were names from the University System of Georgia’s 31 presidents, the Chancellor, the Board of Regents and Dr. McKinney himself.

“I am proud to have my name on this list as your representative,” Dr. McKinney said in the email.

Sergeant Matthew Maestas of VSUPD, who deemed himself “a big gun supporter,” finds himself conflicted on this matter.

He feels that this could’ve resulted in one of two ways. More guns on campus could’ve either equaled more violence in the classroom, or someone’s life being saved in the case of an active shooter.

“I’ll never be against weapons, but in the [classroom] scenario, my opinion is that at times it can do more harm than it does good,” he said.

He believes that any situation where bullets fly is one that is dangerous.

“The possibility of someone getting injured is great,” Sgt. Maestas said. “We account for every round that we fire as law enforcement, […] civilians will be held liable under the same types of scrutiny.”

Felicia Carwise, a senior speech communications major, feels that college campuses would’ve needed a system in place to maintain control, if this bill would’ve passed.

“As long as they would have a way to monitor the traffic of the guns, because I don’t want a student to be allowed to bring a gun on campus, and then just, pull it out during class,” she said. “If they have a system set up in place to monitor that, [then] that would be okay with me.”

However, Carwise believes that an increase in crime would still be a definite issue for college campuses.

Updates on HB 512 can be found on legis.ga.gov/legislation.

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