Campus carry legislation is back, with several bills up for consideration in the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee this week.
Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a measure last year that would have allowed guns on college campuses, but state Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Rome, said he expects these to be more acceptable.
“These are some modified bills, after having conversations with the governor,” he said.
Lumsden, a retired Georgia State patrol trooper, sits on the committee that will consider House Bill 280 today. He quoted the Second Amendment in explaining his support of campus carry rights.
“And a lot of urban campuses are very porous, so to speak,,” he added. “Just because you have a gun-free zone doesn’t mean it’s gun-free.”
HB 280 would allow people with permits to carry concealed firearms on all property owned or leased by a “public institution of post-secondary education.” The only exemptions would be at sports facilities, student housing — to include fraternity and sorority houses — and on-campus preschools.
An omnibus gun permit measure, HB 292, also is on the committee’s agenda. It contains a number of additions and revisions to the state law, including applications for airports, schools and courthouses. Other provisions address legalities for newcomers with permits from other states and people who have been involuntarily committed.
A subcommittee Lumsden sits on also will hold hearings on two gun bills today. HB 406 deals with reciprocal permit agreements between states. HB 232, requiring gun safety training to renew a permit, appears problematic to Lumsden.
“Most conservatives don’t believe it’s wise of government to require training because this is a right, not a privilege,” he said. “We all believe it would be a good thing, if you’re going to carry a weapon, you be trained in its use. But this gets into constitutional questions.”
The Georgia General Assembly officially reconvenes Tuesday for the 21st day of its 40-day session, which is slated to run through March 31.
Lumsden’s election cleanup bill, HB 42, has already passed the House and is expected to come up for a full Senate vote Wednesday. It allows elections supervisors to correct mistakes on a ballot and lets communities use federal, rather than state, run-off dates to save money on elections.
“I’m told the lieutenant governor wants it to move. There are applications for some upcoming run-off elections,” Lumsden said.
There are 18 candidates in an April 18 special election for the 6th Congressional District, vacated when Tom Price was tapped as President Donald Trump’s secretary of health and human services.
Additionally, qualifying opens Wednesday for the election to replace state Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta, who is among those seeking Price’s seat.
Lumsden also has two insurance “housekeeping” bills slated to move this week. HB 174 updates the law to acknowledge claims may be paid by check or other modern methods.
“Right now, it uses ‘legal tender,’ which means cash money,” he said. “I’ve never seen a claim settled with cash.”
HB 262 adds stand-alone dental insurance plans to the list of insurers that may use online, rather than printed, provider directories.