The Georgia House of Representatives passed a controversial bill that would expand gun owners' rights on the day of a crucial deadline.
Crossover Day is the day when bills must pass from one chamber of the Assembly to the other, or die.
The gun bill, which passed by a vote of 117-56, is one of the most high-profile and controversial.
House Bill 512 would allow school boards to designate an administrator who can carry a gun and allow gun owners to carry firearms into bars, onto college campuses and into houses of worship.
"We're talking about rule followers, the people who, like most of us, follow the rules, do the right thing," said State Rep. Rick Jasperse, who sponsored the bill.
"What we have now are gun-free zones, easily described as criminal empowerment zones, a criminal can go there and prey on defenseless people," Jasperse said.
When asked if his bill would create the possibility for more gun violence, Jasperse answered, "I don't believe it will make it more dangerous. I don't believe that at all."
House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, said the gun bill misses the mark.
"I find 512 to be a very dangerous reaction to an even more dangerous situation," Abrams said. "We have some of the weakest gun laws in the nation. To call something gun safety when we weaken safety of our constituents is very problematic and deeply hypocritical."
The House also approved a bill that would put video poker machines under the control of the Georgia Lottery Corp. and send a portion of the money to the HOPE Scholarship.
"We don't have an estimate of the money yet. We think it's going to bring significant benefits to the program," said the bill's sponsor, State Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City.
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