Oconee County’s two representatives in the Georgia House of Representatives were among the majority that voted in favor this week of a law to allow for handguns on the University of North Georgia campus as well as on other public university properties around the county and state.
The Georgia Board of Regents and Chancellor Hank Huckabee, who lives in Oconee County, have opposed allowing guns on colleges campuses.
The bill now goes to the Senate for action.
The bill requires that the handgun be concealed.
Quick And Williams
Rep. Regina Quick, who represents the Oconee County precincts of Athens Academy, Malcom Bridge and Bogart, joined Rep. Chuck Williams, who represents the remainder of Oconee County, in the majority vote on Monday.
The bill passed 113 to 59.
The majority of the residents of Quick’s 117th District is in Athens-Clarke County, home to the University of Georgia.
A slight majority of the residents of Williams’ 119th District also is in Athens-Clarke County and it includes the bulk of the central campus of the University of Georgia and its dormitories.
Spencer Frye, who represents Athens-Clarke County in 118th District, voted against House Bill 859.
Quick and Williams are Republicans, while Frye is a Democrat.
Williams replaced Huckabee in the General Assembly when Huckabee became chancellor.
Extends Coverage Area
In 2014, the General Assembly passed a wide-ranging bill allowing for the carrying of weapons around the state. Quick and Williams supported that bill.
The bill made an exception for school safety zones and for properties of the state’s institutions of higher education.
The bill passed on Monday eliminates the campus exemption and allows concealed weapons “in any building or on real property owned by or leased to any public technical school, vocational school, college, or university, or other public institution of postsecondary education.”
Included would be the University of North Georgia campus on Bishop Farm Parkway off Government Station Road between Butler’s Crossing and Watkinsville as well as University of Georgia properties around Oconee County.
UGA owns and leases farmland in the county, including near the University of North Georgia campus.
In addition, the University has an 109-acre equestrian complex on Astondale Road outside Bishop, and the University System has the Information Technology Services building on Daniells Bridge Road.
The House, with Quick and Williams voting in the majority, also passed on Monday a second bill allowing for stun guns, tasers and other “electroshock” weapons on campuses.
Quick was a co-sponsor of that legislation.
It applies “to any commercially available device that is powered by electrical charging units and designed exclusively to be capable of incapacitating a person by electrical charge.”
Frye did not vote on that legislation.