Thu., April 22, 2010 4:25pm (EDT)

Gun Bill Passes House Panel
By Melissa Stiers
Updated: 4 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
(photo by Mykl Roventine via flickr)
(photo by Mykl Roventine via flickr)
A bill that expands where people can carry guns passed out of a house committee Thursday.

Under the bill, licensed gun owners could carry weapons at Georgia’s airports up to federally secured areas, in parking lots where guns are restricted like government buildings, and in bars if an owner says it’s okay.

The measure also removes a gun-free 1,000 foot safety zone around universities and K-12 schools.

Democratic Representative Stacey Abrams says that’s wrong.

"Many of the shootings against children have occurred from outside the school into the school playground or into the school property. By removing that zone of safety, I think you’re removing protections that I think are necessary for children," says Abrams.

Her amendment to reinstate the buffer failed in committee today.

Republican Senator Mitch Seabaugh says his bill lets parents who are licensed gun owners keep their weapons in their cars while dropping their kids off. Overall, he says, his bill clarifies where guns are allowed.

"We have prosecutors and law enforcement officers saying the law is confusing so they don’t have to prosecute or enforce it, so it will help with public safety from the standpoint where they’ll be able to know how to properly enforce the law," says Seabaugh.

A recent version of the bill revoked a state law that bans guns at universities and colleges. That provision has been removed.

The bill has already passed the senate; it now goes to the full house for a vote.