In the 2017 legislative session, the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 280 amending state law regarding the carrying of handguns on Georgia’s college campuses. The bill was signed by Governor Deal, and it goes into effect on July 1, 2017.
The purpose of this post is to share information about the bill. It is not to debate the merits of the bill, pro or con.
The first distinction that needs to be discussed is that this bill allows for Georgia Weapons Carry License (GWCL) holders to carry concealed handguns in certain places on campus. It is important to stress the word “concealed” as otherwise, the GWCL allows for open and/or concealed carry, and yes, the GWCL is required for open carry.
The bill did not amend 16-11-127.1 O.C.G.A. as it pertains to other weapons. So, if you are a GWCL holder, you will be able to carry a pistol on campus, but your pocket knife with a blade of more than two inches in length would still be illegal. Remember, this is government; it doesn’t have to make sense.
Below is an excerpt of 16-11-127.1 containing the definition of weapons that are prohibited on campus (prior to the change allowing for concealed handguns):
“Weapon” means and includes any pistol, revolver, or any weapon designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind, or any dirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, any other knife having a blade of two or more inches, straight-edge razor, razor blade, spring stick, knuckles, whether made from metal, thermoplastic, wood, or other similar material, blackjack, any bat, club, or other bludgeon-type weapon, or any flailing instrument consisting of two or more rigid parts connected in such a manner as to allow them to swing freely, which may be known as a nun chahka, nun chuck, nunchaku, shuriken, or fighting chain, or any disc, of whatever configuration, having at least two points or pointed blades which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart, or any weapon of like kind, and any stun gun or taser as defined in subsection (a) of Code Section 16-11-106. This paragraph excludes any of these instruments used for classroom work authorized by the teacher.
Again, everything on that list, except concealed handguns, will still be illegal to carry on college campuses.
As for concealed, here is your definition:
‘Concealed’ means carried in such a fashion that does not actively solicit the attention of others and is not prominently, openly, and intentionally displayed except for purposes of defense of self or others. Such term shall include, but not be limited to, carrying on one’s person while such handgun is substantially, but not necessarily completely, covered by an article of clothing which is worn by such person, carrying within a bag of a nondescript nature which is being carried about by such person, or carrying in any other fashion as to not be clearly discernible by the passive observation of others.
As for where you can carry:
Any weapons carry license holder when he or she is in any building or on real property owned by or leased to any public technical school, vocational school, college, or university, or other public institution of postsecondary education;
and where you can’t:
- buildings or property used for athletic sporting events or student housing, including, but not limited to, fraternity and sorority houses;
- any preschool or childcare space located within such buildings or real property
- any room or space being used for classes related to a college and career academy or other specialized school as provided for under Code Section 20-4-37;
- any room or space being used for classes in which high school students are enrolled through a dual enrollment program, including, but not limited to, classes related to the ‘Move on When Ready Act’ as provided for under Code Section 20-2-161.3;
- faculty, staff, or administrative offices or rooms where disciplinary proceedings are conducted;
NOTE: In 2016, the General Assembly passed HB 792 which made made carrying “electro shock weapons” on campus legal for those over 18, but as of the writing of this article, they have not been removed from the prohibited weapons under 16-11-127.1 per the published code sections.