The Georgia House of Representatives approved a measure Monday that would allow guns on the state's public college campuses.
The measure would allow licensed owners over the age of 21 to carry concealed weapons, except in sorority and fraternity houses, dormitories and at athletic events.
Supporters of the bill say it's necessary for responsible individuals to be able to defend themselves. But several Georgia House Democrats argued against the bill in a debate that lasted about an hour and a half, saying guns don't belong on college campuses.
"House Bill 859 will not increase the safety of our campuses or our state," said Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur. "It is not about victimhood. It is about increasing the opportunity for mayhem and gun violence in our state."
The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, spoke to WABE after a recent armed robbery at Georgia State University several weeks ago.
He said people have the right to defend themselves in what are currently gun-free zones.
“The bad guys that want to do us harm, they don't care," Jasperse said. "So we're really inhibiting the people that do care ─ the ones that want to protect themselves.”
The state's university system opposes the measure.
The bill passed 113-59, and now moves to the state Senate for consideration.
WABE’s Johnny Kauffman contributed to this report.