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Posted: March 7, 2013 6:44 p.m.

Ga. lawmakers back expanded gun carrying rights

ATLANTA (AP) — State lawmakers have backed legislation that would allow Georgia residents to carry guns in more places and arm school employees.

House legislators voted 117-56 on Thursday to allow residents to carry guns in churches or parts of college campuses.

It would allow people who have received inpatient care at mental hospitals or drug treatment centers within the last five years to get a license to carry a weapon. Right now, judges have discretion over whether to issue licenses to those applicants.

Republican Rep. Tom Kirby said he supports the bill. He said the country has a violence problem, not a gun problem.

Democratic Rep. Karla Drenner said allowing young adults to carry handguns on campuses could lead to more violence.

The bill now heads to the state Senate.

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