The Georgia State Senate voted Tuesday to let licensed gun owners carry concealed weapons on most places on public college campuses.
The state Senate voted 32-22 on the bill, which needs final agreement by the state House before being sent to the Governor for his signature.
Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, vetoed the measure last year, referring in his veto statement that colleges had long been treated as “sanctuaries of learning where firearms have not been allowed.”
State Sen. Fran Millar, R-Atlanta, echoed Deal’s veto statement.
“There’s something about a college campus. It’s not a church, but there’s something about it,” Millar said. “When you walk on that campus, it's sort of a world to itself. It's a world of opportunity, it's a world of dreams for people.”
Millar, who chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee, said the state’s university system has stepped up security measures in recent years. The head of the university system, Chancellor Steve Wrigley, has opposed the measure.
Supporters of the bill say students who are licensed gun-owners should be able to defend themselves.
“Ladies and gentleman, it’s time that we do something to help our students on campus,” said state Sen. Bill Heath, R-Bremen.
The bill exempts student housing and athletic facilities. Lawmakers this year also exempted campus preschools as well as places where high school students take classes to address some of Governor Deal’s concerns he had raised last year.