The University System of Georgia will be implementing House Bill 280, campus carry legislation, on July 1. The legislation will allow licensed concealed carry holders to carry a handgun on all public universities and college campuses.
With the introduction of this new legislation, students will be able to carry their firearm in many areas of their campus with some restrictions preventing them from carrying in certain areas.
Steve Wrigley, the Chancellor of the University System of Georgia, released guidelines on Wednesday that list the specific areas on campus where firearms will not be permitted. Wrigley said that House Bill 280 will not allow students to carry in athletic facilities, student housing, areas used for preschool or childcare with some exceptions, classrooms that include high school students, staff offices and rooms used for “disciplinary proceeding”.
“Under the new law, it is a misdemeanor crime for a license-holder to carry a handgun ‘in a manner or in a building, property, room, or space in violation of’ these provisions.” Wrigley said.
These regulations are mandatory for every public Georgia university and campus. Any other regulations that individual campuses attempt to enforce are prohibited.
“While House Bill 280 provides for specific exceptions where handguns may not go, it does not give individual institutions discretion to bar or further limit handguns on their campuses,” Wrigley said. “Institutions therefore may not place additional restrictions or prohibitions on the carrying of handguns beyond those contained in the law.”
If a student wishes to carry their handgun on campus, he/she must ensure that the firearm is substantially concealed by an article of clothing or stored in a bag “of a nondescript nature.”
The implementation of this legislation makes Georgia one of ten states to mandate campus carry, and is a massive step forward for gun rights advocates in the state.
Opposition to the bill is well known to the University System of Georgia, but the University System is mandated to enforce this new legislation.
“I understand that many of you have strong feelings about this bill” Wrigley said. “Yet, whether you opposed or supported the legislation, it will soon be state law, and I respectfully ask everyone to exercise patience, understanding and respect as we implement it.”
Georgia colleges and universities are currently notifying their students, faculty, and staff of these changes, and are working to implement these newly established guidelines by July 1.
“Today, I received a memo from the Chancellor that provides the university with guidelines for House Bill 280 (campus carry) developed by the USG Office of Legal Affairs” said Kennesaw State University’s President, Sam Olens. “I have asked the relevant offices on campus to review these guidelines so that we may establish a plan for implementation at KSU.”