Can a person with a weapons carry license carry a weapon on a university campus? The question has been debated in the past few weeks as a result of conflicting language in two bills with that were passed by the state legislature earlier this year and set to become law July 1.
The state's Attorney General, Sam Olens, issued an opinion May 29 that says carrying weapons within a school safety zone is prohibited, except that those who have a weapons carry license may have a weapon when they are parked in or traveling through a school safety zone, such as when they are dropping off or picking up a student.
The Attorney General's statement regarding carrying weapons on college campuses is:
Both House Bill 60 and House Bill 826 addressed this question in amendments to O.C.G.A. s 16-11-127.1. The provisions are in conflict. House Bill 60 was signed by the Governor after House Bill 826 and is the later enactment, so the provisions of House Bill 60 control. Therefore, there is a general prohibition against carrying weapons in a school safety zone (which includes the real property or buildings of public or private elementary schools, secondary schools, technical schools, vocational schools, colleges, or universities); however, a person who possesses a weapons carry license may have a weapon when carrying or picking up a student and may have a weapon in a vehicle that is in transit through or parked within a school safety zone.
UNG Police Chief Justin Gaines said that the Attorney General's advice is consistent with information he and colleagues around the state have received from the University System of Georgia, which provides oversight for the state's 31 public colleges and universities.
"The school safety zone encompasses all buildings and facilities, including residence halls, athletic and recreational facilities, on our four campuses," Gaines said. "Our officers will enforce this law, just as we do any law in an effort to keep the peace within and around our university."
The complete document with additional information may be found on the Attorney General's website at http://law.ga.gov/faq-new-gun-laws.