Despite already having generally relaxed gun laws, Georgia House Republicans, just last year, attempted to pass legislation that would decrease restrictions on guns by allowing firearms to be legally carried on college campuses. This legislation was known as House Bill 859, or HB 859.
An AJC poll, however, found that over ¾ of Georgians opposed this bill. When sectioning out just the Republicans, who people might assume would be in support of this bill, still nearly ¾ of them opposed the bill.
Georgia legislators tried to justify this bill or say it is not quite as bad as it may seem by arguing only licensed gun owners with a permit to carry weapons would be allowed to do so. To me, though, this doesn’t seem like much of a justification – I feel like it’s pretty obvious that only people with a carry permit would be allowed to carry a gun.
By no means am I trying to support HB 859, but playing Devil’s Advocate here, the AJC question was posed as “Do you favor or oppose allowing students to carry guns on college campuses AND in college dorms?”. HB 859, however, did include two exceptions to where guns could be carried, and those two exceptions were in student housing and athletic events, which means that opposition from Georgia residents might not be as high as the AJC poll concluded it was.
It will be interesting to see if going forward the state legislators continue to control the direction of gun laws within Georgia or if the citizens start to turn the gun control debate around and have more influence over legislation, potentially resulting in more restrictions in the future if gun violence continues.
Images: .50 Caliber Gun. . Photography. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Accessed Jan 26, 2017. http://quest.eb.com/search/142_2343139/1/142_2343139/cite.