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Unofficial Opinion 93-4

Unofficial Opinion 93-4

July 13, 1993
To: 

District Attorney,

Eastern Judicial Circuit

Re: 

The prohibition in O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127.1 against carrying weapons at schools includes colleges and universities.

You have asked whether O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127.1, which prohibits carrying weapons at "schools," includes colleges and universities.

The statute itself does not define the word "school," nor does the title or chapter.  "Absent clear evidence to the contrary, words used in a statute should be assigned their ordinary, logical, and common meaning." Curlee v. Mock Enterprise, Inc., 173 Ga. App. 594 (1985). "School," as ordinarily defined, includes colleges and universities.

Also, subsection (c)(3)(E) of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127.1 excludes from the statute's coverage a person who is employed as a campus police officer as defined in Chapter 8 of Title 20.  O.C.G.A. § 20-8-1 defines "campus policeman" to include those officers employed at a college or university.  Since campus police, which include those officers employed at colleges and [*2]  universities, are excluded from the prohibition of carrying weapons, then the statute itself must apply to colleges and universities, else the language excluding campus police from the prohibition is unnecessary surplusage.  Such a reading is contrary to the generally accepted principles for construing statutes.  Porter v. Food Giant, Inc., 198 Ga. App. 736, 738 (1991); see also Exam v. City of Valdosta, 246 Ga. 169 (1980).

It appears that absent a definition, "school" should be construed to include colleges and universities and their functions.

Therefore, it is my unofficial opinion that the prohibition in O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127.1 against carrying weapons at schools includes colleges and universities.

This 13th day of July, 1993.

Prepared by:

KAY BAKER,

Staff Attorney