HB 280 – Campus Carry

Gun Control

Description – Campus Carry

Georgia is all set to have the governor sign HB 280,  a bill that allows people to conceal carry on public university campuses. It’s referred to as “campus carry”. The bill provides for the following exceptions to the rule:

  1. Buildings used for sporting events or student housing, including Greek housing.
  2. Childcare spaces within the campus
  3. Rooms where high school students are attending a class for a dual enrollment program
  4. Offices or rooms where disciplinary proceedings are held

If anyone is found in any of the above situations, they are subject to a $25 fine and no jail time.

Bill Commentary

This bill has caused a lot of commotion, and rightfully so. Teachers complain about potentially unsafe work conditions. Recently, I heard a Georgia Tech professor exclaim that he’ll be forced to give all of his students A’s for fear of retribution for anything less. While I think that’s obviously hyperbole, it hits on the problem many will have whether it’s a real problem or not, the feeling of personal safety.

I also understand that Americans have a constitutional right to possession of firearms through the second amendment. This is an important protection as well, as we should be allowed to protect ourselves from criminals and a tyrannical government, if need be. I absolutely stand firm in my stance that everyone should be allowed to own a gun unless the right is stripped after due process for a violent criminal offense.

With all that said, I think there is a larger problem at work here. In a truly free society, there would be no public education facilities. These would be privately managed institutions and they would be allowed to make rules for themselves on whether firearms are permitted on their campus or not. A bill in Georgia should allow these institutions, public or private, to make these decisions for themselves. If Georgia State University wants to allow students to carry firearms, but the University of Georgia is against it, that’s fine1. It just adds another layer of competition for some students. Some will want to go to either school for a plethora of reasons.

Ambiguity in Text

A strange aspect of this bill is the inclusion of the following line:

Not apply to faculty, staff, or administrative offices or rooms where disciplinary proceedings are conducted;

This leads to some confusion. Does the bill mean that faculty, staff, or administrative offices AND rooms where disciplinary proceedings are conducted? Or does it mean only faculty, staff, or administrative offices where disciplinary proceedings are conducted. The absence of a comma makes the text of the bill a hard to understand, and, thus, hard to implement.

1 To my knowledge, neither the University of Georgia nor Georgia State University have expressed an opinion on this matter.

Photo Credit: James Case under CC 2.0.

Also published on Medium.