New law allows concealed carry at Georgia tailgates

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

A new law in Georgia means fans will be able to carry a concealed weapon at UGA tailgates.

The state’s new “campus carry” legislation will allow for residents with a proper concealed firearm permit to have a handgun at tailgating events at public universities in Georgia. The state previously just allowed for concealed carry in vehicles on campus.

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University System of Georgia chancellor Steve Wrigley offered further clarifications about the law, which is known as House Bill 280 and is for handguns only, in a memo released on Wednesday. It goes into effect on July 1.

“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. It will not allow any other type of gun to be carried around campus; nor will it allow handguns to be carried openly,” the memo says.

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Wrigley clarified in the memo that concealed handguns will not be allowed inside athletic events.

“This exception includes stadiums, gymnasiums and similar facilities in which intercollegiate games are staged (but does not extend to so-called “tailgating” areas where fans may congregate outside the gates of the sports facility). It does not extend to student recreation centers and similar facilities that are not used for intercollegiate games,” Wrigley wrote.

This news from Georgia comes a few months after Arkansas passed a law allowing concealed carry for licensed persons in an increased number of public places. That initially included sporting events (such as Arkansas Razorbacks football games), but the state’s House of Representatives quickly passed an amendment to give exemptions to state colleges and universities, removing college stadiums from the mix.

The SEC came out in support of the amendment, citing obvious safety concerns.

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“Given the intense atmosphere surrounding athletic events, adding weapons increases safety concerns and could negatively impact the intercollegiate athletics program at the University of Arkansas in several ways, including scheduling, officiating, recruiting and attendance,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said before the amendment passed.

“HB 1249 creates concerns for the Southeastern Conferences and its member institutions. It remains our collective desire to provide a safe environment for student-athletes, coaches, officials and fans and will continue to closely monitor the status of this legislation.”

For more Georgia news, visit UGASports.com.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!