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New push in Legislature to allow guns in frat houses, college stadiums

And speaking of the Legislature...

Two new bills in the Legislature revive last year's debate about guns on Georgia's college campuses, but the AJC says passage is unlikely.

According to the AJC's Aaron Gould Sheinin: "The bills face long odds of passage this year. Rep. John Meadows, R-Calhoun, who co-sponsored last year’s major rewrite of Georgia’s gun laws, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he’s not interested in pursuing gun legislation again this year. Meadows is also chairman of the Rules Committee, which decides which bills make it to the House floor for a vote."

The GunSense Georgia Coalition issued this statement about the gun bills introduced yesterday:

The GunSense Georgia Coalition has pledged to fight two new gun bills introduced yesterday by freshman House Representative Heath Clark, R-Warner Robbins. House 544 would force the University System of Georgia to allow anyone with a concealed weapons license permit to bring loaded, concealed guns on to all 30 public college and university campuses, including fraternity and sorority houses and sports stadiums.

HB 543, called the “Constitutional Carry” bill, would eliminate the legal requirement of obtaining a permit to carry a gun, with few exceptions, for anyone over 21.

Eight out of 10 Georgians opposed the policy of “campus carry” according to an ABT SRBI poll conducted in January 2014.  The provision was eliminated from HB 60, widely known as the “guns everywhere bill,” which was signed into law last year.

“We are appalled that this is back, “said Kathryn Grant with the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, an organization that is part of the GunSense Georgia Coalition. “Not only will HB 544 jeopardize the safety of our campus communities but it is a very expensive proposition. A similar bill before the Texas legislature is going to cost that state $47 million to implement. Who is going to pay for HB 544? Georgia’s students and taxpayers would ultimately bear the cost.”

The second bill, HB 543, would allow further unrestricted access to guns by removing all permitting requirements (under current law, no training is required to purchase a gun or obtain a concealed weapons license). The premise of Constitutional carry is that the 2nd amendment is the only requirement necessary and that you should not have to “ask the state for permission,” according to Representative Clark.

“This is outrageous,” said Lissie Stahlman, a co-founder of GunSense Georgia. “In 2008, the Supreme Court’s Heller Decision, written by Justice Scalia, ruled that the 2nd amendment does not preclude state and local controls for the sake of public safety.  But, the radical gun lobby’s agenda is to arm all citizens without any restrictions at all,” added Stahlman. “Without requiring a permit process, how do we know those who are carrying guns are law-abiding or mentally stable?  The answer is we would not know.”




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Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.