ATLANTA -- Legislation to allow guns on Georgia’s state college campuses will make a comeback in the next few weeks. At the same time, so will an attempt to ban assault rifles.
To refresh your memory, Georgia lawmakers passed a Campus Carry bill earlier this year, but Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed it.
They are almost certain to pass another one in the next few weeks. The question is how different will it be.
"I would like to see us be able to carry on college campuses," said Matt Turner, who describes himself as a former college student who now works at a gun store near Doraville.
Backers of Campus Carry expect to pass another bill next year. But in order to win the approval of Gov. Deal, they’ll have to make some changes.
The bill Deal vetoed allowed firearms license holders age 21 and up to carry on campus – except at athletic facilities, and in student housing. To win Deal’s approval next year, backers will also consider keeping guns out of campus child care facilities, administrative and faculty offices and student disciplinary hearings.
"The proponents of that measure are looking at a way to put together a new bill," said House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). "I’m supportive of those efforts. We’ll see what form it takes."
At the same time, gun control backers are setting their sights on assault rifles. Even though they couldn’t even get a hearing in the legislature last session, they’ve already introduced another bill to ban assault rifles next session – fully realizing the odds against them.
"I’m not sure there’s a compromise on campus carry," said Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur), the main sponsor of the assault rifle bill. "But there are a lot of other issues relating to guns. The rights versus the control issue. And I’m looking for an open bipartisan intellectually honest discussion."
Oliver says polls show Georgians sharply divided on gun rights, with half of them supporting a ban on assault rifles.