A provision that would have allowed students to carry weapons on public college campuses will be dropped from a revised gun bill.
The provision would have opened the door for students age 21 and older with permits to carry firearms on college property.
The measure has been strongly opposed by the university system and the state board of regents.
So–called “campus carry” provisions have long been a sticking point in a proposed gun rights bill, and lawmakers have been working on a compromise that would give college and university presidents the option to allow guns on their campuses.
But now, supporters of the provision face another stumbling block.
The legislature's legal counsel has sent house leaders a letter saying the provision may be unconstitutional because the general assembly does not have the power to delegate that authority to university leaders.
Representative Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) says, as a result, lawmakers are assessing whether they can proceed with a "campus carry" measure.
“Some of the attorneys have said that they viewed that that would not be constitutionally correct because it might be an abdication of our authority to do so,” said Powell. “We've got some other attorneys that are looking at it to see whether that can be cleaned up or go forward.
Powell said a bill dealing with other gun rights issues will proceed regardless of the campus carry measure.
“I think it's important for folks to know that this thing has got eight or ten different issues within this one bill. It is enhancements of people's second amendment rights and it's a lot of cleanup language on the process,” he said.
In an interview with the Associated Press Thursday, Rep. John Meadows (R-Calhoun), chair of the House Rules Committee, said the gun bill will instead focus on enhancing reporting of the mentally ill and empowering local school districts to arm employees if they wish.
Representative Powell (R- Hartwell) said sponsors hope to finalize the bill by early next week.
Contributors: This report also contains material from the Associated Press.