Georgia House will endanger students if it passes campus carry gun bill today

UPDATE: The House passed the campus carry bill 113 to 59 after an hour of spirited debate. (I have a lot of the debate on Twitter.)

 

Alexander Evans is a graduate student studying epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. He holds a master’s in business administration and bachelor degrees in biology, public health and business administration from Kent State University.

Evans writes about the expected House vote today on House Bill 859, which would allow anyone 21 or older with a weapons license to carry a gun anywhere on a public college or university campus, except for inside dormitories, fraternities and sorority houses, and at athletic events. The legislation would also require the firearms be concealed.

The leader of the House predicts the legislation will pass. “When we have armed robberies taking place in campus libraries, right here near this Capitol on multiple occasions, I think there is a real concern out in the state,” House Speaker David Ralston told the AJC.

Sponsored by state Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, House Bill 859 is opposed by the Board of Regents.

By Alexander Evans

I was an undergraduate at Kent State University in 2014 when a student discharged a firearm during an on-campus argument with two other students. The university was placed under lock-down for nearly three agonizing hours as 10 law enforcement agencies swept academic buildings and students shared pictures of their barricaded classrooms on social media. The gunman was later apprehended off campus.

Reflecting on this experience as a current graduate student, I have thought a lot about campus safety.

Some Georgia lawmakers would argue that “campus carry” laws make universities safer in these situations.

Whitehead-Caitlin-Fal14-ILLU410-Burns-A1-AJC_Marching Into the SThe House is expected to vote today on a bill allowing licensed individuals to carry firearms on public colleges and universities.

Proponents of the “campus carry” bill argue the legislation will help students protect themselves from becoming victims; they claim potential victims of sexual assaults and other crimes will be empowered to stop such attacks

Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily the case. Oregon is one of the few states that allow concealed carry of firearms on college campuses. A group of students were carrying firearms on the Umpqua Community College campus in October when a gunman opened fire in a classroom. They ultimately chose not to intervene out of fear law enforcement might confuse them for the gunman — a practical limitation to armed students defending their university.

A 2015 study of National Crime Victimization Survey data failed to find evidence suggesting self-defense gun use reduced a victim’s likelihood of injury during a crime. Firearms are much more likely to be used to commit crimes than to stop them.

The notion that campus carry laws will decrease sexual assaults on our campuses reflects a deep misunderstanding of the nature of these attacks. The majority of these crimes are committed in the presence of alcohol and by close contacts of the victims. Experts in the field say firearms actually make the problem worse, not better.

Perhaps the sponsors of “campus carry” recognize the ubiquity of alcohol on college campuses and the risks involved with adding guns into the mix — the bill would restrict firearms from dorms, fraternity and sorority houses and sporting events.

Gun activists often claim “gun-free zones” make schools and universities targets for would-be criminals, yet the evidence fails to support the claim that these areas are intentionally targeted for their gun-free policies. By their logic, “campus carry” would just turn college sporting events and fraternity houses into easy criminal targets.

The flawed argument for expanding “campus carry” laws — that “only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun” — mistakenly assumes the average licensed carrier, in this case, college students, can conduct themselves with the tactical judgment and execution we expect from highly trained law enforcement officers.

While the sponsors claim their bill will make campuses safer, most higher education professionals and the general public are against this kind of legislation.

The truth is that “campus carry” would compromise the learning environment and change peer-learning and professor-student relationships.

Our colleges and universities are critical for our pursuit of better tomorrows. Campuses are sanctuaries for open creation and exchange of ideas. Colleges and universities, and those responsible for governing them, have a duty to maintain the integrity of this environment and the safety of those engaging in it.

Our academic resources should be concentrated on fostering this environment where students feel free to focus on their studies, to resolve conflict with logical solutions; the decision to pull a trigger should be left to those trained to keep our campuses safe.

Reader Comments 0

319 comments
Tim Carmen
Tim Carmen

I was at UCC and you are liers. The people who had concealed carry either didn't have their gun on them or didn't know what was going on tell it was almost over. Get your facts straight and stop making them up to fit your brainwashing

Hank Finkel
Hank Finkel

So, we endanger some students...FREEDOM

Kat Brag
Kat Brag

States with fewer guns and stricter Gun control (CT, HA, NJ, NY) have fewer Gun Deaths. Louisiana is an example of a state with more Guns, less Gun Control and more Gun Deaths. Louisiana is also is high in Gun Violence. Suicide is still a Gun Death and saying it is not Gun Violence seems to indicate that it isn't a problem. Bizarre.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Well, the law passed.  Contrary to what all the Chicken Little's predict on this site, I doubt there will be any noticeable increase in the number of guns on campus.  Those with existing CCPs and attending, say, night class at Ga State were probably already carrying.  All this does is eliminate the ambiguity from the law. 

Let's see, I'm legal to carry here, step across this imaginary line and I'm a criminal.   At least now, if we are in open, public access space, we can carry.

Mack68
Mack68

@Lee_CPA2 Actually, it only passed the House, where the bill originated. Now it moves on to the Senate for consideration.

Brian McPherson
Brian McPherson

The author of this editorial is sheltered and ignorant on the subject.

Stephen Weigand
Stephen Weigand

I'm pretty sure kids raised in Ga know how to use a gun- as apposed to the coddled leftist kids who got participation trophies in all the blue states

eulb
eulb

If campus carry becomes law, I expect online programs to become much more popular. 

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

If there is ANYWHERE we should be able to carry guns, it is into the state legislature. They rob the citizens of Georgia every year.

YankeeProf
YankeeProf

My previous grading scale:

Excellent = A

Above average = B

Average = C

Poor = D

Incomplete, Incomprehensible, or Cheating = F


My new grading scale:

Excellent (and armed) = A

Above Average (and armed) = B

Average (and armed) = B

Poor (and armed) = B

Incomplete, Incomprehensible, or Cheating (and armed) = B

Carey Jenkins
Carey Jenkins

Cowards will think twice about attacking helpless victims if they arent sure whos not quite so helpless. Just like any bully, they prey on those they think are unable or unwilling to respond.

Gareth Carr
Gareth Carr

With that rationale, countries (such as the U.K. and Australia) with zero private handgun ownership should be ridden with gun violence. 


How about you do a little research and get back to me on whether that is the case.

Calvin Miller
Calvin Miller

Turn back the hands of time. The time when you didn't like a person, and said you got until the count of three to "draw".

John Sheffield
John Sheffield

Because it is such a great idea to put guns in the hands of students getting by on too little sleep and too much caffeine, at a time of their life when they are highly stressed; not to mention likely to get zealously caught up in various ideologies.

Rob Bennett
Rob Bennett

No one should handle such weapons without being trained, no one seems to understand the training police and military go through to understand and use the weapon if needed. Everyone carrying weapons is just stupidity. This will cause some confusion and more violent crimes, a criminal that may have hesitated at a time, may not anymore if everyone is thought to carry a gun. Schools are for an education, you will just make them worry more so about their protection.

Scott Spinks
Scott Spinks

Roibeard Ó Saoraidhe really stupid comment! Go troll somewhere else.

Mack68
Mack68

Look, I grew up here. 7th generation. Learned to shoot at a young age (I'm pretty good, if I do say so myself). My kids are learning to shoot, and being educated about gun safety. 

But I will not keep guns accessible in my house, nor will I carry one on my person. The statistics are too alarming. My family is FAR more likely to fall victim to a firearm due to my possession than they are as a result of a violent crime in my community. 

Gun accidents and suicides are a much more likely outcome than successful protection against a violent attack. That will be the same outcome with this bill, should it pass, in my opinion. Ten years from now we will be counting incidents of accidental discharge, drunken disagreements, and suicides on college campuses and trying to compare those against maybe a few, if any, cases of packing college students thwarting a violent crime on campus.

These students of age already have the ability to own a gun and have it at their off-campus apartment, and even tote it around the big bad city if they have a permit. They can do that now. The vast majority of the crime happens off campus, nearby. 

I went to Tech for grad school in the 90s, when the surrounding neighborhoods were "worse" than they are now. Still live within a few miles. The campus is no more dangerous now than it was 20 years ago. 

I'm all for people's rights to own guns, but I am absolutely opposed to this bill, for all of the reasons I cite above. A college campus is not an extension of a city-state. It is a contrived environment, for a finite period of time in the lives of its participants.

Tyler Parks
Tyler Parks

Michael Dillinger I've been victim to very violent crimes and have almost lost my life to the hands of a violent criminal countless times, all in very good areas of midtown Atlanta and AS WELL as GA State campus. It's not living your life in fear, it's being aware of the dangers around you.

Lauren Settle
Lauren Settle

2 times in the past few months someone held students at gunpoint at my school - Georgia State University - INSIDE the library to rob them of their laptops and phones. And got away. With no arrests. I'm not saying conceal carry is the answer but it's much more common for students to be in those situations than people might argue.

Andrew Rutherford
Andrew Rutherford

We should be able to carry everywhere, including government buildings. \U0001f5fd

JBBrown1968
JBBrown1968

It's official! Those guys in atlanta are genious! Give me a gun....Give me a gun! I would laugh if it were not so sad.

Washington Johnson
Washington Johnson

You folks that don't agree with Campus carry must not get down to GA. State or GA. Tech much. Why should my daughter be rape and or killed so your liberal butts can feel self righteous! I am a big supporter of LEO's but even they will tell you they show up to take a statement not to stop a crime in progress.

Mack68
Mack68

Sorry, I went to Tech for grad school. I think I'm therefore qualified to speak my mind on this issue, per your criteria. And I still live Intown.

Charles B Williams
Charles B Williams

Even then... Someone intending to due harm will walk right through those metal detectors blasting whoever stands in their way. I don't understand why people think they are safe at all without the ability to fight back. Metal detectors, frisking people, that only keeps honest people unarmed. Criminals find ways. Usually they aren't very sneaky about it either.

Peter Calabrese
Peter Calabrese

How many college age kids actually spend the amount of time necessary to gain the skills to handle a weapon in a setting like that? If there is an active shooter, and the authorities show up and see a student with a gun, can they be sure they're a licensed carrier or a suspected shooter?

Jacob Kirkland
Jacob Kirkland

Yeah,because every single one of these guys shooting up the schools and movie theaters just forgot to read the no guns allowed sign before they went in and starting shooting everyone up. They should make the signs bigger so criminals can read them better and leave their guns at home.

Michael Fisher
Michael Fisher

When was the last time a Ga school had an active shooter? I believe it was in the last six months when a Ga state kid got robbed and shot in the schools library. Just over a year ago a couple of teens broke into a Mercer university building in Macon at one in the afternoon and robbed someone. About three months before that a Mercer staff member was robbed at gun point on campus walking to her car. It happens more than you would think.

Tyler Parks
Tyler Parks

Michael Dillinger So you'd rather have no protection on the off chance that something does happen? Have you ever been to the Georgia State campus? Police and "security" are separated by entire city blocks, when you get attacked do you think your attacker is going to give you time to pull out your cellphone and wait for the cops who are 10 - 15 minutes away?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Every time I think our "leaders" have sunk to a new low they cannot beat, they meet the next day and outdo themselves!

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Are we actually PAYING these clowns to come up with (stuff) like this!?!  Yet they won't make the state capitol building a "carry zone?!"

Albert Fowler
Albert Fowler

www.itsonus.org Every town against Gun violence Across America

Shane Byous
Shane Byous

I stopped reading at : "Firearms are much more likely to be used to commit crimes than to stop them." I'm still trying to swipe the stupidity off of my phone screen

Patrick Outler
Patrick Outler

No, my logic is that gun control almost always removes a means of defense from law abiding citizens. Again, explain to me the city of Chicago, and the number of shooting deaths in a city with stringent gun control. And if it's large scale gun control you want to talk about, why don't we discuss Australia? Last I heard, violent crime was INCREASING, despite their recent gun laws. And how is violent crime in the U.K. right about now? Your point about shootings is irrelevant if removing firearms leads to even higher violent crime numbers. The problem is not firearms. We don't take away alcohol or cars in order to reduce drunk driving, do we? Maybe we should be teaching people not to shoot each other instead of forcibly disarming them, eh?

Tramell Kinne
Tramell Kinne

We lead the world in gun ownership. We lead the world in gun violence. Tell me some more how more guns equals less gun violence. I'm listening.

Tramell Kinne
Tramell Kinne

Explain to me how we have the most guns, and the most people getting shot in the world. Yet your logic is more guns equals less people getting shot.

irishmafia1116
irishmafia1116

Hmm.... USA 320 million people, ....Great Britain 60 million, ....Australia 20 million hows that for a start

Tramell Kinne
Tramell Kinne

Great! Only country in the world that believes more guns equals less people being shot. By the way we're number one in people getting shot for a reason. #guns