New York: For the second year in a row, lawmakers in the U.S. state of Georgia have passed a controversial bill that allows licensed gun owners to carry concealed firearms on public college and university campuses.
House Bill 280 permits adults over the age of 21 who have a concealed weapons permit to carry a gun on public campuses, reports the CNN, adding that exceptions were written in for public college sporting events, student housing such as dorms, fraternities and sororities, and space that may be shared or used by preschool and high school-age students.
The measure passed the state’s House during the final day of Georgia’s legislative session. The Senate passed the bill earlier in the week.
It now goes to Governor Nathan Deal, who vetoed similar legislation last year.
Conservatives and Second Amendment activists cast the bill as a crucial measure for members of the school community to protect themselves.
Opponents, including the University System of Georgia chancellor, have spoken out against it. Critics say that arming students isn’t the solution for enhancing their safety.
Earlier in January, congressional Republicans introduced bills that would reduce barriers to purchasing gun silencers and allow concealed weapon holders to cross state lines without having to follow local restrictions.
President Donald Trump during his presidential campaign had promised to eliminate gun-free zones and to allow loaded handguns in schools, and said that a “national right to carry” concealed weapons should be legal.
President Trump’s election has encouraged gun rights advocates to mount a new legislative push in states across the country.
According to the Hill, legislators in more than a dozen states have introduced bills to allow residents to carry guns in the open, roll back licensing requirements for concealed weapons and limit the number of facilities where guns are prohibited. Measures in several states would allow those with licenses to carry firearms in schools, airports and churches.