A Look at Georgia’s New Campus Carry Bill
As school shootings once again made the news last year, those on college campuses around the country began to call for the ability to protect themselves by carrying concealed weapons of their own. Some were proponents of this idea, and some were very much opposed to it. After a long battle full of compromise, the bill has finally passed.
After the bill was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal, anyone who is 21 years of age and older may now possess a weapon on public college campuses, provided they have a permit to do so. House Bill 280 has wording that prohibits the carrying of concealed weapons on certain parts of campus, including “buildings or property used for athletic sporting events.” People are questioning exactly how this will be interpreted, and if parking lot tailgaters are included.
The Issue with Sporting Events
It is known that there are 100,000 or more fans who gather in the parking lot on game day to participate in tailgating activities. These people begin to gather several hours prior to the games. University of Georgia officials are wondering if concealed weapons are allowed or banned in the parking lot of Sanford Stadium. They are also wondering if the ban on weapons on property used for athletic sporting events includes any area that is to be used for pre-game festivities.
It seems that no one has returned calls questioning this wording. The athletics director for the university said he wasn’t sure of the details as of yet. Representatives that sponsored the bill did not return calls for comment. The governor’s office also failed to respond. One representative, an opponent of the law, said that the phrasing is unclear and that litigation would not be surprising due to the vague language.
Not a Unique Law
Georgia joins 10 other states in signing a campus carry law. Currently, Wisconsin, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, Oregon, Mississippi, Kansas, Idaho, Colorado and Arkansas have similar laws on the books. One of the issues drawing so much attention with the new law and sporting events, particularly tailgating, is the addition of alcohol. Although concealed carry permit holders are some of the most law abiding citizens in the country, guns and alcohol rarely mix well.
For now, it is assumed that each school will interpret the law as it wishes. Schools are responsible for setting forth their own guidelines for enforcement, and are already doing so in order to be ready for the law’s kickoff date of July 1. The only thing anyone can do is to wait and see what will happen.
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