Georgia Governor Nathan Deal Signs Campus Carry on May 4, 2017

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal

By Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona -( Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed the Georgia Campus Carry legislation, HB 280, on Thursday this week, May 4th, 2017.

May 4th was the last day that Governor Deal had to sign or veto the bill. The NRA Annual Meeting was in Atlanta this year.

Perhaps the stellar performance of NRA Meeting attendees helped Governor Deal in his decision. Crime tends to drop when 80,000 NRA members show up in town. The meeting was widely publicized.

From the office of Governor Deal at

Gov. Nathan Deal today signed HB 280, which permits weapons carry license holders to carry firearms in specific and limited areas on college campuses.

This legislation addressed major concerns voiced by the governor last year regarding HB 859, which permitted a weapons carry license holder to carry a concealed weapon into certain areas of a college campus that had previously been prohibited. HB 859 failed, however, to address Deal’s concerns regarding the prohibition of firearms in “sensitive places,” including campus preschools, disciplinary hearings, or faculty and administrative offices. As a result, the legislation was vetoed.

This year, the General Assembly overwhelmingly passed HB 280, which maintains the same restrictions present in HB 859. It also addresses the areas of campus over which Deal previously raised concerns, along with additional areas of college campuses where weapons would not be permitted.

“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. Unfortunately, in parts of the state, the path to higher education travels through dangerous territory.

“At the present time, assailants can, and do, target these students knowing full well that their victims are not permitted to carry protection, even those who are weapons carry license holders, because they are either going to or coming from a campus where no weapons are allowed. In recent years, we’ve witnessed college students fall victim to violent attacks in or while traveling to libraries and academic buildings, and while traveling to and from their homes to class.

“As this legislation is more narrowly tailored as to exclude areas on a college campus, I’ve signed HB 280.”

The signing statement is available under “Related Files” below.

HB 280 prohibits the carrying of a concealed weapon by anyone, including weapons carry license holders, on the following areas of a college campus:

  • 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.

There is controversy over whether the interpretation by the Governor that “Any faculty, staff, or administrative offices” are prohibited places for a concealed carry permit holder to carry.

In the actual bill, the prohibition states, from HB280 as passed:

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

The lack of a comma between “administrative offices” and “or rooms where disciplinary proceedings are conducted;” indicates that administrative offices that are not used to conduct disciplinary proceedings are not prohibited places. It is hard to know if the lack of a comma will have any practical effect. Very few concealed carry holders are likely to be arrested for carrying in an administrative office that is not a place where disciplinary proceedings are conducted.

There are some positive things for permit holders in the bill.

The punishment for a first offense is a fine of $25, with no term of confinement. Second or later offenses would be misdemeanors.  Permit holders are required to keep the handgun concealed, but the definition of concealed is not extreme.  From the bill:

(i) ‘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.

Georgia has entered the ranks of a Campus Carry state. The bill goes into effect on 1 July, 2017.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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The problem is that a student living in the dorm and attending class is still not protected in any way. He/she can’t keep the firearm in the dorm nor carry it for the walk to class as it’s prohibited in the classroom. Where are woman usually assaulted on college campuses? In the dorm or on the walk to and from class! I’m having a hard time seeing the victory here.


and THAT is a real problem. Of course, since carry age is, I believe, 21 in Georgia, and most over 21 students won’t be living in the on campus dorms, but more likely off campus private housing, this isn’t quite the problem it seems on the face. More women of 21 and up are likely to live in college dorms, but any of them wanting to carry can simply find off campus housing, and be thus protected.

Torbjorn Niemand

Sorry but this thing is a joke. It clearly states that students and pupils are still going to be sitting ducks/vulnerable anywhere where an assailant may attack them, such as in dorms, classroom or in athletic facilities. What a useless piece of junk. UNLESS this is part of a longer game where this law will be changed/extended to remove all of the above but possibly places of disciplinary hearings as faculty is too cowardly to be in the same room as a weapon is in. The question is, does this apply to long-guns too? I mean one can carry an… Read more »


It’s at least a step in the right direction. Better than yet another year or hearing “no” to Campus Carry. I live in Georgia, and I think this is a good first step. Give the folks riding the fence time to get used to it and see that society isn’t actually going to crumble from it. We can hone it further in years to come, we don’t have to be all-in from the get-go.


but it does not exclude all classrooom and athletic facility spaces… except when sporting EVENTS are being held, and when high school students are present, as in the programmes where high schoolers take classes on college campuses. This restriction is the silliest.. what DIFFERENCE does it make whether high school kids are in a given classroom, and HOW is someone to know whether that fuzzy cheeked young chap is 18 and in college, or 18 and still in high school? That bit is stupid, and will likely be one of the first to get changed.