Georgia House legalizes guns on college campuses

The US House of Representatives in Georgia has passed a law, authorizing concealed handguns on the state’s college campuses.

The bill, which was approved by the Republican-dominated House on Monday, would allow anyone 21 or over with a concealed weapons permit to take their handguns on public college campuses,

Republican Georgia Representative Heath Clark defended the bill, arguing that the move would make campuses safer than before as “Guns are already there.”

“People are being robbed at gunpoint in college buildings on college campuses. Guns are already there. What we’re voting on today is to allow law abiding citizens the opportunity to defend themselves on college campuses," said Clark.

This is while a Democratic opponent of the bill, State Representative Robert Trammell, said he believed the US Constitution's Second Amendment allowed handguns to be barred from "sensitive" places such as college campuses.

    "In addition to the question of public safety, a weapon in a classroom environment is antithetical to the idea and mission of post-secondary education," Trammell said.

Opponents also believe that the bill would increase the likelihood of college campus shootouts.

“Allowing students to possess and use firearms on college campuses will likely breed fear and paranoia among fellow students since no one will know if the other person can simply retrieve or pull out a gun if a dispute arises," said Representative Karla Drenner.

Trammell added that there is no data showing that campuses would be safer if students were allowed to carry weapons.

The new legislation excludes dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses or sporting events.

According to the bill, bearing an overwhelming support with a 113-59 vote, the firearm could not "actively solicit the attention of others" and would need to be hidden from view.

Georgia has 29 public colleges and universities that would be subject to the legislation if it is passed  in the Senate.

The decision was made after the president of the University of Texas last week reluctantly approved plans that would allow licensed concealed handgun holders to bring pistols into classrooms.

Every year, more than 30,000 people are shot and killed in the United States.

The US averages 87 gun deaths each day as a function of gun violence, with an average of 183 injured, according to the University of Chicago Crime Lab and the Centers for Disease Control.

About 4.5 million firearms are sold annually in the country at a cost of two to three billion dollars.

On December 14, 2012, twenty children and six adults were fatally shot by a gunman -- who later killed himself -- at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in the town of Newtown in the US state of Connecticut.

Following the Sandy Hook shooting, President Barack Obama pushed for gun reform, including expanded background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines, but the powerful gun rights lobby and its people in Congress fiercely opposed the measure.

Obama has said the “biggest frustration” of his time in the office has been the inability to reduce unparalleled levels of gun violence in the country.