Georgia lawmakers moved one step closer to allowing licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons on public college campuses, as some other states have done, when the proposal supported by the National Rifle Association won support from a Senate panel Monday.
The Senate Judiciary Committee backed the measure permitting those with concealed weapons licenses to bring their guns onto university and college property. The bill could reach the Senate floor this week for a vote.
The Georgia House already has approved the bill. If it passes the Senate without changes, the measure would go to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who has voiced support for the concept.
Guns would be barred from athletic facilities and student housing, including fraternity and sorority houses.
Critics called it a dangerous bill, but a co-sponsor, Rep. Mandi Ballinger, R-Canton, said supporters believe it boosts the safety of college students around the state.
“There is a lot of anger and a lot of fear, but I feel like we are more about empowering students to be able to take responsibility for their personal safety,” she said.