Thu., April 1, 2010 3:27pm (EDT)

Gun Bill Gets Pushback In House
By Melissa Stiers
Updated: 4 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
The bill would let permitted gun owners carry weapons along the borders of schools and college campuses. (photo by Sir Meave via flickr)
The bill would let permitted gun owners carry weapons along the borders of schools and college campuses. (photo by Sir Meave via flickr)
A senate gun bill that lets people with permits carry weapons in areas bordering school campuses is facing some resistance in the house.

Senate Bill 308 gets rid of a 1,000 foot safety buffer around K-12 schools and college campuses. Its sponsor, Republican Mitch Seabaugh, says it will avoid unnecessary arrests of permitted gun carriers who are just passing through, unaware of the zones.

"When it comes to having a law where you could unknowingly commit a crime and you could be subject to a 2-10 year prison sentence and a fine up to 10,000 dollars. I believe it’s incumbent upon us to have a clear definition instead of where you could break a law and not know it," says Seabaugh.

In a house committee meeting Thursday, several lawmakers say they want to keep the buffer because it protects students. Democratic Representative Stephanie Stuckey Benfield suggested adding alternative language, rather than getting rid of the buffer altogether.

"We can have an exception while in transit through school zone, while doing business, we can have an exception while in a private residence," says Stuckey-Benfield.

The bill would also let permitted gun owners carry their weapons in the airport outside of federal security zones and in churches and bars so long as property owners allow it.