Will guns on campus scare away high school students and their parents?

Rick Diguette is a local writer and college instructor. In this piece, he warns that allowing guns on Georgia’s college campus may make parents think twice about putting their academically gifted high school students in dual enrollment programs.

By Rick Diguette

Recent passage of Georgia House Bill 859 makes it all the more likely that concealed carry permit holders will soon be authorized to bring loaded firearms into classrooms on all of Georgia’s public college and university campuses. Just as I do not believe putting more guns in more hands in more places will effectively address the problem of gun violence, I’m equally concerned that this legislation may have a chilling effect on Georgia’s extremely popular Move On When Ready (MOWR) dual enrollment program.

MOWR allows public and private high school students to enroll in classes at some of the state’s public postsecondary institutions. The college credits they earn serve the dual purpose of fulfilling high school graduation requirements. And as a result of changes made to the program during last year’s legislative session, tuition and almost all fees and textbook costs are now paid for in full by the Georgia Student Finance Commission.

Students participating in the program during their junior and senior years can graduate from high school with the equivalent of the first two years of college completed. Although most MOWR students don’t take that many classes, it’s still an option. But if House Bill 859 makes it through the Senate and is signed into law by the governor, I fear we may see a steep decline in program participation.

Some years ago I served as the dual enrollment coordinator at the college where I teach and met with hundreds of high school students and their parents. To say they were excited about the program would be an understatement, but they also had legitimate concerns. Some parents wondered if their academically gifted high schoolers possessed the emotional maturity to succeed in a college environment. They were also concerned that dual enrollment students might not be treated as equals in the classroom by their slightly older classmates as well as their professors.

I was able to address these concerns because in my experience it was rare for dual enrollment students to enjoy anything but unqualified success. They also gained valuable college classroom experience. Perhaps best of all, I was certain the MOWR program would continue to pay academic dividends long after they had graduated from high school.

Protesters at University of Texas oppose a new state law that expands the rights of concealed handgun license holders to carry their weapons on public college campuses. Georgia is considering a similar law.

Protesters at the University of Texas oppose a new state law allowing concealed handgun license holders to carry their weapons on public college campuses. Georgia is considering a similar law. ((Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman)

Although I no longer serve as a dual enrollment coordinator, I’m not sure I could be quite so confident about the MOWR program should House Bill 859 become law. Nor do I think I could address the concerns of parents and students as effectively as I did in the past. In my view allowing concealed firearms in a classroom imperils the very nature of a learning environment.

Knowing that some classmates and/or professors have armed themselves suggests, at least subliminally, that a violent attack is always a clear and present danger. It also suggests that the trained security personnel employed by the college are inadequately prepared to deal with emergencies. If students are always worried that an armed and dangerous individual might at any moment appear at their classroom door, their ability to maintain focus and learn is bound to be compromised.

It is also quite likely that professors and students would be less willing to address controversial issues in the classroom. Although the free and open exchange of ideas has always been a hallmark of the college experience, it is reasonable to assume that professors and students might self-censor their views rather than risk provoking a response from someone in the classroom who doesn’t share those views and who might also be armed.

While there have been a number of deadly incidents on college campuses in recent years involving armed and dangerous individuals, I don’t think they warrant the intrusion of guns in our college classrooms. And if I were the parent of a child who wanted to participate in MOWR, I would have to think long and hard about that if some version of House Bill 859 is eventually signed into law.

Reader Comments 0

70 comments
jerryeads
jerryeads

Do I remember the legislature being so incredibly stupid as to pass a law preventing police from even ASKING if someone had a conceal permit? If that's the case, what's the point requiring the permit? What's next - a law preventing police from asking to see one's driver's license to see if he or she is 21?

redweather
redweather

@jerryeads I guess their rationale is that having to admit to carrying defeats the purpose of your right to conceal that fact. "Don't ask, don't tell" for the second amendment folks.

P-Evans
P-Evans

@jerryeads  Ah, the old problem of not actually reading the bill rouses its ignorant head.


Jerry, nothing in that bill in any way prevents an officer from asking if a person has a license to carry. Just as nothing in the bill in any way prevents an officer from asking where you bought those snazzy shoes from.


What HB 60 (from 2014) does, is to make it crystal clear and confirm CURRENT U.S. Constitutional law that officers are ALREADY subject to. 


Which is,  citizens may not be detained under color of law unless Reasonable Articulable Suspicion (R.A.S) of a crime is afoot.


The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that merely being armed does not give rise to an exception of the 4th Amendment.

Now, with R.A.S. or probable cause of a crime, then yes, officers may at any time DEMAND to see that weapons carry license under color of law. HB 60 in no way prevents this.


Officers are free to observe, investigate, question, etc... But may not detain a citizen without circumstances which exist to overcome Constitutional Rights. And as our highest court has already ruled - being armed without other circumstances which suggest criminal activity leaves 4th Amendment protections firmly in place.


Should your wishes become reality, such that the mere act of exercising a Constitutional Right, even while licensed, subjects you to being stopped and detained by police against your will any time an officer observes you being armed, just what do you think happens to all other licensed activities you participate in?


Do you have a Constitutional Right to drive a car? Well, it does require a license. Hmmm, maybe you are driving without a license. I believe any time you drive, a police officer should be able to pull you over merely to check and see if you have a drivers license. Cuz, you know, some people out there do dangerous things with their cars, and we want to make sure at any time anyone drives, that they are licensed to drive. 


It doesn't matter to you how many times I am stopped during my day by an officer to question me about my gun license, so I won't care how many times you are stopped on the road, just so an officer can check if you are licensed to drive. See how that works? 


http://PursuitOfPatriotism.Blogspot.com

Starik
Starik

I'm not happy with the idea of guns on campus - but consider: It's obvious Georgia State has inadequate security, with multiple robberies in an on-campus library. Georgia Tech seems to have better security on campus, but students who live in off-campus housing have been robbed repeatedly.  There's a legitimate concern, isn't there?  These are urban campuses in dangerous neighborhoods.

Mack68
Mack68

@Starik 20 years ago there were no fewer robberies off campus at Tech than there are now. The surrounding neighborhoods were "more dangerous" then than they are today.

Back then, we practiced prevention. Don't walk alone at night. Lock your doors. Campus security provides escorts - take advantage of it. Turn on the exterior lights at your rental house. That kind of thing.

Carry pepper spray. Take a self-defense class. A good self-defense class provides more actual instruction than concealed carry applicants are required to take (which is none, as long as they pass the background and fingerprint check).

Ga State is a bit unique in that it is an urban campus that is not contained. The issues at the library are inexcusable, but once you leave the buildings the measures above come into play.

I am not an anti-gun person. I can shoot. Learned at a young age. My kids are also learning. But they do not need to pack heat on campus. This is a very bad idea.

Starik
Starik

@Mack68 @Starik You make good points, but pepper spray and self defense classes won't help in an armed robbery. This is the age of PC.  The police can't use undercover officers to trap robbers.  They can't stop and frisk suspicious people, or carloads of suspicious people.  Kids in college have a right to be safe.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@Mack68 @Starik

Unfortunately, too many people, especially women, buy those little keychain pepper sprays and think they are protected.  You really need to do your research on those as some are better than others and many are worthless.

Ga law also prohibits the carrying of stun guns / tasers on campus, which makes no sense to me.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Lee_CPA2 @Mack68 @Starik 

There's a proposed law under consideration by the legislature that would allow stun guns/Tasers on campus instead of regular guns.

P-Evans
P-Evans

@Mack68 @Starik
"My kids are also learning. But they do not need to pack heat on campus. This is a very bad idea."

Mack, I see what you slyly did there. Under HB 859, only licensed ADULTS 21 and over may carry a firearm on campus.


These are the SAME people that can legally carry now in public parks filled with parents and children, the SAME people that can have a beer, wine, or whiskey in a restaurant while carrying legally (legal since 2010 no less, with no wild west shootouts in those places), and the SAME people that can legally carry in 97% of all other public places, with no rash of licensed 21 year old KIDS shooting up places.


When you can get past the fear-mongering, maybe then you can see that it is immoral to put adults in jail merely for wanting to have a firearm for protection from evil-doers on college campuses that would rape, rob, and murder innocent UNARMED victims.

palepadre
palepadre

There is no age limit to anger. A five year old a 95 year old. We expect a parent to teach a child respect for others, proper use of a vehicle, a kitchen knife, and fire, things that can be used as weapons, or to hurt people. Also, children need to be taught, that not everyone is nice, kind, and caring. A bad person, if all they have is a brick, and they want what you have, they will threaten you with it.  Okay, we don't need guns on campus, if  and the ACLU will have a fit, if students have tracking devices   on them. and that also, can be activated to signal security they are in trouble. I cringe when I see the ad for the alarm company that "Guarantees their Response time." Scenario: "Hey someone is kicking my door in!" alarm company answers right away. "We'll notify law enforcement." Very soon to be victim ; "When will they arrive?"  Alarm company:"As soon as their circumstances permit." Don't want guns on campus ? Curfew for students. No late night classes. Flexible, mobile, and some beat cop security.  A lot of them. Or, you fence in the perimeter of any college.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Wow.  Soooo much misinformation by some of the previous bloggers.  A few facts:

  • There are over 750,000 weapons permit holders in Ga - about 12% of the population over age of 21.
  •  Ga has reciprocity agreements with other states to allow the same rights to their permit holders.
  • You must be age 21 or older to be a weapons permit holder in GA.  18 year old freshmen are not going to be packing heat.
  • When states began issuing carry permits, the Chicken Little's predicted "wild west shootouts" and carnage in the streets.  The crime rate for permit holders is statistically nonexistent.  Law abiding citizens don't commit crime.  Imagine that.

The reality is that this law merely eliminates some of the ambiguity of existing laws.  Ideally, the only public areas that prohibit guns are those that require entrance through a metal detector manned by law enforcement personnel.

Mack68
Mack68

@Lee_CPA2 No, it doesn't eliminate any ambiguity.

Those 21 yr olds already are able to get such a permit. They just aren't able to carry onto a college campus. No ambiguity. 

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@Mack68 @Lee_CPA2

Ambiguity as in location.  If I'm walking down a street in Athens at UGA, am I on a public street or am I on campus?  Stay on the sidewalk and I'm legal, but take one step on the grass and I'm breaking the law?  Step inside the bookstore, which is open to the public, is that part of the college campus or public space?

Mack68
Mack68

@Lee_CPA2 @Mack68 You know exactly what is school property. A street in downtown Athens is not school property.

Mack68
Mack68

@Lee_CPA2 I realize it might be inconvenient for you to store your manhood in your car when you come on campus.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@Mack68 @Lee_CPA2

{{{yawn}}}   Ah yes, the "he must be compensating" argument and the gun is a phallic symbol argument.

So, basically, you have no further ideas to refute my assertions so you resort to insults.

P-Evans
P-Evans

@Mack68 @Lee_CPA2 So, stepping over the boundary line of a college campus suddenly turns a responsible, licensed gun carrier into someone bent on committing crime against others?

Denise285
Denise285

There are so many unregistered illegal guns that are circulating in this state. A person can obtain any weapon that he wishes as long as he has the funds to purchase them. This bill states that only individuals that are over 21 years old will be allowed to carry on campus. Realistically, can the supporters of this bill actually believe that students 18 through 20 will stand idle and not bring weapons on campus also? How many young people under 21 possess weapons everyday (even though it is illegal) and do not have a problem using them if they feel the need? This is a bad law for all public colleges and universities in the state of Georgia!

Mack68
Mack68

@Denise285 Yes, this will lead to a whole manhood measure thing, where the younger kids will seek to emulate their older peers. And yes, I do refer specifically to boys. 

P-Evans
P-Evans

@Denise285 Denise, if HB 859 does NOT pass, do you actually believe that students 18 to 20 (or anyone of any age) bent on committing crime will choose to leave their guns at home, for fear of breaking the law?

Please explain to me how the current prohibition of firearms carry on college campuses is keeping armed robbers from bringing their guns on campus? 


Perhaps it's because college campuses with all of their learning haven't figured out the best way to author an effective sign that keeps them away?

MarshallK
MarshallK

Of course parents will be excited that there can be old-fashioned shootouts on campus in the near future.  The clear way to protect one's self is to fire back; and, of course, students, faculty, or staff with anger issues would never pull a gun on someone just because they were angry.  Heck, put guns in church, airport, trains, Everywhere.  What a safe world we can envision.

P-Evans
P-Evans

@MarshallK Well Marshall, it sounds like you may be familiar with HB 60 from 2014 which some have called, "The Guns Everywhere Bill". 


Please tell me how many "old-fashioned shootouts" have occurred by licensed gun carriers committing crimes since July 1st, 2014 when this bill became law.

Also, it has been legal to drink alcohol and carry a firearm in restaurants since July 1st, 2010 in Georgia. 

How many wild west shootouts have occurred as a result of licensed carriers committing any crimes in those restaurants?


Crickets...


You know, fear-mongerers are good at fear-mongering, but when they try to be prophets of doom, they are shown time and again that they are false prophets.

The Truth402
The Truth402

Yes, let's make sure the black thugs who constantly rob the non-black students at GSU, GT, and Emory are the only ones with guns so they continue to be easy targets.

jerryeads
jerryeads

May we live in interesting times. 21's and over hang their midnight special 9's they've never shot once on the hip, and the 14-year-olds from high school dual enrollment sport their bargain basement stunners. Duels in the lots over parking spots - or over that last candy bar in the hall vend. Thinning of demanding faculty. On the bright side, the graduation rates should go up with the drop in D's and F's. 

Been carrying for 35 years, happy not to for the five years I've been on a campus, but looks like I'll have to bring the .45 now just to grade honestly. Better: think I'll just go home. And hope somebody with at least a tiny bit of sanity runs for office to vote for.

P-Evans
P-Evans

@jerryeads Jerry, you guys are making this too easy!


Psst, did you know that since 2010 with SB 308 it has been LEGAL for licensed-to-carry college students to bring a pistol onto a college campus parking lot in his car, as long as he leaves it locked in the car?


Please tell me how many duels over parking spots have occurred by licensed carriers since 2010?


Crickets chirping...


LOL!



Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Does this proposed law apply to private colleges as well?

P-Evans
P-Evans

@OriginalProf @MaureenDowney @Wascatlady Not quite. The Board of Regents would just as much oppose a law allowing firearms carry both at public and private colleges. 


Don't believe me, look at past campus carry laws that applied to both. The B.O.R. roared at them.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Meanwhile....


"Colleges usually take great pride in proclaiming their “diversity” and “inclusiveness,” but simply wearing a tool of his trade was cause enough for one uniformed police officer to be excluded from a class he was taking at Darton State College in Albany, Georgia.


While details are lacking, several press accounts (exemplified by this Fox News report) from the past week recount the strange tale of the officer being escorted from class because the instructor was uncomfortable that a gun was in the classroom. To date, neither the officer nor the instructor has been identified.

It does not appear that the instructor’s “discomfort” was due to any threatening or disruptive behavior by the officer. Indeed, the school has since apologized to the officer for the incident. Fox News went on to report that the school’s Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs characterized the incident as a “misunderstanding” and stated, “We have met with the faculty and staff involved to reiterate the Georgia Law and Darton Policy.” While Darton State College generally bans firearms from campus, it makes an exception for police officers."

jerryeads
jerryeads

@Lee_CPA2 And if I understand it correctly, the officer HAD to carry his weapon.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

much better to make sure that the only people with guns on "gun free zone" campuses are the robbers, rapists, and murderers.....


The best thing gun rights advocates can do is let folks like this spew their idiocy - loudly.  In fact, help them get exposure.  Since anyone with a modicum of sense would see how insanely stupid this view is.


I have a relative who is a prosecuting attny - and she says that the absolute worst "victim's family members" are the ones who were ultra liberal - and then someone they love got brutalized and victimized.  Then all of their "caring, condescending" BS about how the criminal was "so underprivileged" goes right out the window.  And they want the death penalty - nothing less!


Its so hard when you think the world is like a disney movie, and then actual reality comes crashing in.

redweather
redweather

@dcdcdc Every college campus has armed and trained security officers.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@redweather @dcdcdc  really helped the 6 dead kids at Northern Illinois Univ, when my daughter was there.   Many of which were murdered AFTER the shooter had time to stop, reload his gun while they cowered in the classroom unarmed and defenseless, and then kill them.  Particularly helped her friend who died while he was using his body to shield his girlfriend.....  But I guess in liberal lala land, the police are only 10 seconds away....


When your child is raped or murdered, I'll remind you that the campus had "armed and trained security officers".  Who has ZERO - NO - chance of arriving in time to save your child.


But at least they will be able to collect the clues afterwards, so you can sit in court and watch your child's killer go to trial.  If you are lucky

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@redweather @dcdcdc

Larger colleges such as UGA and Tech have a certified police force.  Smaller colleges, especially the community colleges, have a retired guy in a golf cart.

They will all be glad to write up the report and call you an ambulance if needed.

redweather
redweather

@camarodadd @KeepGunsoffCamp @knorton29 Under Georgia law it is unlawful for a person under the age of 18 to possess a handgun, and just about every dual enrollment student is going to be under 18. Some are as young as 15.

patriotdog
patriotdog

I understand that school shootings, Va Tech, for example, could've turned out differently had someone been there to return fire ealy on, perhaps lives could have been saved. But, do we really want to put that responsibility on an 18-21

year old student? Never mind the fact that when police show up to find the suspect, and they are looking for an "armed and dangerous student" how do they know if the student(s) with the gun is the bad guy or a good guy looking for the bad guy? Pandora's box doesn't begin to describe the

issues that will arise, potentially.

P-Evans
P-Evans

@patriotdog Please tell me how responding police know the difference between good guys and bad guys when crime occurs outside college campuses?


Does stepping over a college property line suddenly make police go stupid?

PJ25
PJ25

Guns have been on campus for decades just as guns have been in restaurants that serve alcohol for decades before they changed the law.  It never ceases to amaze me how weak and shallow some people are.  Then again, that's why only the top 20% of the population is winning in life. 

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

Not only will thinking High School students be looking elsewhere, any sought after Professor will not even give Georgia a second thought.  Where should I take my multimillion dollar research grant, jobs, public acknowledgement, cash prizes, and successful graduate students?  To a revival of the old Confederacy with shoot-outs on campus, instructions to avoid controversial topics, and repeated threats from poorly educated racists?  Or, to an Ivy League center of intellectual challenge or one of the states with recognized state supported superior colleges (e.g., University of California, University of Michigan)?  Obviously, our elected state representatives are not able to comprehend these complex decisions and the prosperity associated.  Welcome to the 21st century.  Time for new blood.

WW5
WW5

@Ralph-25  if the profs could do all that, they would have already done so

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Ralph-25 

You need a more realistic idea of the current job market for professors in all fields...and the state universities you mention (California and Michigan) are in deep trouble because of their legislative budget cuts.

P-Evans
P-Evans

@Ralph-25 Ralph, wishful thinking got you tied in knots?


Alabama, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Wisconsin, Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas all have legal student campus carry.


Are they having a shortage of students and professors? Please explain.