Georgia Law Will Allow Carry of Handguns at Public University Tailgate Events

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2017

MEMPHIS, TN - DECEMBER 30: Cheerleaders with the Georgia Bulldogs run out onto the field prior to their game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on December 30, 2016 in Memphis, Tennessee. The Georgia Bulldogs defeated the TCU Horned Frogs 31-23. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
Michael Chang/Getty Images

A new law in Georgia will allow individuals with a concealed firearm permit to carry handguns during tailgating events at public universities within the state. Guns will remain barred from athletic events.

On Thursday, Sam Cooper of Yahoo Sports provided details of the law, which goes into effect July 1 and only covers concealed handguns.

University of Georgia chancellor Steve Wrigley released a memo to the entire school community Wednesday to provide clarity on the issue.

"While current law already allows license-holders to keep weapons secured in motor vehicles, beginning on July 1, House Bill 280 will allow anyone who is properly licensed in the State of Georgia to carry a handgun in a concealed manner on property owned or leased by public colleges and universities, with some exceptions as explained below," he wrote. "It will not allow any other type of gun to be carried around campus; nor will it allow handguns to be carried openly."

Wrigley added he understands there are "strong feelings" about the issue, but asked everyone to follow the guidelines of the law: "Institutions therefore may not place additional restrictions or prohibitions on the carrying of handguns beyond those contained in the law. Neither should anyone else attempt to interfere with the ability of license-holders to carry concealed handguns on campus."

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed the law in early May and announced the intention is to protect students who have become targets since they must travel through "dangerous territory" to class.

"At the present time, assailants can, and do, target these students knowing full well that their victims are not permitted to carry protection, even those who are weapons carry license holders, because they are either going to or coming from a campus where no weapons are allowed," Deal said. "In recent years, we've witnessed college students fall victim to violent attacks in or while traveling to libraries and academic buildings, and while traveling to and from their homes to class."

The law will have the biggest impact on Georgia football home games, where fans were previously only allowed to conceal their handgun in a vehicle. The Bulldogs are scheduled to play six contests at Sanford Stadium during the 2017 season, starting Sept. 2 against Appalachian State.