Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed HB 280, a quasi-campus carry bill, into law this week.
While many gun rights advocates will be pleased with the announcement at first blush, a closer look at all the exemptions in the bill give one pause because one ends up thinking, well if you can’t carry here or there or there, where the heck can you actually carry?
To give you an idea, here are all the places where individuals are prohibited from carrying a concealed firearm:
- Buildings or property used for athletic sporting events;
- Student housing, including but not limited to dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses;
- Any preschool or childcare space;
- Any room or space being used for classes related to a college and career academy or other specialized school;
- Any room or space 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”;
- Any faculty, staff, or administrative offices; and,
- Rooms where disciplinary proceedings are conducted.
That’s a lot of places where one can’t carry, right? So, where is one actually allowed to carry? Not to class. Not in the dorms. Not at athletic facilities. Not at offices. Evidently, you’re allowed to carry in the same places you’ll eat green eggs and ham in, “Not here, not there, not anywhere!”
It should be noted that HB 280 is a compromised bill, a derivative of a more pro-gun legislation known as HB 859. Deal vetoed HB 859 last year citing concerns over safety, noting that “colleges have been treated as sanctuaries of learning where firearms have not been allowed.”
However, with all these gun-free zones carved out in HB 280, the Republican governor signed the new legislation.
“It is altogether appropriate that weapons not be allowed in sensitive areas on college campuses, and I appreciate the thoughtful consideration given by the General Assembly in expanding these excluded areas within a college campus in this year’s bill,” said Deal.
“While HB 280 addresses the rights and restrictions relating to weapons carry license holders on a college campus, it in effect may have greater significance for students who are going to or coming from a campus,” added Deal. “Unfortunately, in parts of the state, the path to higher education travels through dangerous territory.”
Don’t get me wrong, some progress is better than no progress. But we also need to be honest about the limitations of HB 280. It still leaves students, faculty, and staff vulnerable to attacks from spree killers. As it’s been said, “Gun-free zones are murder magnets.” Spree killers prefer soft targets. The notion that college campus safe spaces or “sensitive areas” keep out killers is assinine.