February 22, 2016 4:32 PM
House Bill 859, which would allow guns in most areas controlled by the University of Georgia system except for student housing and athletic events, passed the House this afternoon following an hour of spirited debate between pro-carry Republicans and anti-carry Democrats. The final vote was 113 in favor, 59 against, 3 not voting, and 5 excused. With the exception of no votes from Republicans Beth Beskin of Buckhead, Wendell Willard of Sandy Springs, and Joe Wilkinson of Atlanta, the vote was along party lines.
Speaker David Ralston said he was pleased with the vote.
I’m happy. I was very pleased, I thought it was a good debate. I thought both sides presented their case well and I think the House took a very clear position that the Second Amendment doesn’t stop at the edge of a college campus.
The measure now goes to the Senate, the chamber that nixed a similar measure two years ago when it was part of the “Guns Everywhere” bill. The Speaker was optimistic that the Senate might have a different reaction this year when they consider the bill:
I think they have heard the same concerns we have heard from Georgians that are concerned about the increasing level of violence on our college campuses. If they have heard that, I think that they will maybe give it a different look than they chose to a couple of years ago.
Speaker Ralston said he hadn’t heard a lot of push back from the Board of Regents on the campus carry measure, but that there were always concerns with any piece of legislation, and the House will move forward as appropriate.