Written by Jordan Barela, Editor-in-Chief
Despite protest from Valdosta State, the Georgia Legislature could soon allow students to start packing heat.
House Bill 859 or what is referred to as “Campus Carry” is making its way through Georgia Legislature.
On January 27, the bill was reported to have entered the Georgia House. As of Monday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that the bill was passed by the Georgia House.
The bill states that guns can only be carried on campus by licensed carriers.
The bill will allow license holders to carry on any building or property owned or leased by any public institution of postsecondary education. There is an exemption the bill as it prohibits any license holder from bringing a concealed weapon into any area used for sporting events and student housing, which includes both sorority and fraternity houses.
The bill will only allow for licensed gun holders to carry concealed handguns.
The bill defines concealed as “carried in such a fashion that does not actively solicit the 29 attention of others and prominently, openly, and intentionally displayed only for 30 purposes of defense of self or others.”
The bill would allow for handguns to be substantially concealed and not completely covered by the licensee’s clothing and for concealed carry in an ordinary bag.
This is not the first Campus Carry bill to reach VSU. In 2012, Faculty Senate penned a resolution in opposition to campus carry. The resolution was written by former Faculty Senate president Michael Noll and Kathryn Grant, a former student and now the Southeast Region Director of the “Keep Guns Off Campus” campaign.
According to the 2012 resolution, allowing guns on campus would “threatens the progress of education and the expression of ideas by imposing lethal weaponry within a place that harbors vigorous and often heated academic discussion.”
“As far as the Faculty Senate is concerned, all senators have been asked to take a closer look at the resolution that was passed in 2012 to see if there is a need to update it, even if general parameters may not have changed,” Noll said.
Noll also added that he expects Faculty Senate to vote on the 2012 resolution at the next meeting.
“Based on conversation I have had with quite a few of colleagues, a significant majority of the Faculty Senate should again confirm that the only weapons we want on our campus are sharp minds and not guns,” Noll said.
According to Noll, if the bill is passed, VSU would have no choice but to allow concealed weapons to be allowed on campus.
President Cecil Staton said at the last Faculty Senate meeting that VSU supports the current law.
According to legis.ga.gov, HB 859 has been read and referred by the Georgia Senate.