UGA grad student: Campus safety takes hit with gun veto

Not all college students opposed guns on campus as this demonstration in Texas shows.
RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Vicki Scullion is a Ph.D. student and graduate assistant in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice at the University of Georgia College of Education.

By Vicki A. Scullion

Feeling safer now?

Well, I’m not. As a graduate student at the University of Georgia in Athens, I’m actually feeling less safe than I was before Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the campus-carry concealed handgun bill Tuesday. If I know that there’s no one on campus with a legal right to carry a concealed weapon, why wouldn’t criminals know that, too?

Universities that publicly announce their law-abiding, registered-gun-owning, concealed-permit-carrying faculty, staff and students are completely unarmed and unprotected are simply making it easier and safer for criminals to commit crimes with guns on campus.

The bill would have allowed anyone 21 or over to carry a concealed handgun on Georgia campuses if they had a valid permit. While Deal mouthed concern over the safety of on-campus daycare centers and high school students taking college-level courses, I fail to see how these children’s lives would have been endangered if the bill had passed.

Every day, permit holders exercising their Second Amendment rights quietly and safely carry their concealed weapons into daycare where they pick up their children, restaurants full of children and teens and crowded movie theaters. They simply want to protect themselves and their families from criminals who have no difficulty obtaining weapons without being troubled by a background check or having to show up at a courthouse to register for a legal permit to carry concealed.

Why shouldn’t those of us who work and study on campuses also have the right to defend ourselves from those who aren’t going to follow the gun laws anyway?

It’s laughable that Deal cites historical precedents for his veto. His solemn pronouncement appeals to the emotions and little else: “From the early days of our nation and state, colleges have been treated as sanctuaries of learning where firearms have not been allowed. To depart from such time-honored protections should require overwhelming justification.” Since we don’t live in the early days of our state and nation, perhaps it’s time to rethink the “because we’ve always done it that way” excuse for denying necessary change.

Our “sanctuaries of learning” are not respected the way they were more than 200 years ago, and, in a way, that may be a step in the right direction. When Jefferson and Madison opposed firearms in 1824 at the University of Virginia, they were no doubt more concerned about keeping the privileged white men who attended the university from fighting duels of honor on the campus quad than they were about students and faculty being able to protect themselves from criminals with firearms.

When was the last time anyone had to stop a duel? Jefferson and Madison were not able to divine the future; it’s a different time, and we have different problems. We have got to stop living in the past.

An open announcement stating that our faculty and students are unarmed makes us unsafe. If you were a criminal, wouldn’t you be more likely to target someone who you know won’t be carrying a gun? Instead of protecting us, you’ve left those of us who attend or work at Georgia universities vulnerable to predators and criminals.

Shame on you, Gov. Deal.

Reader Comments 0

81 comments
lvg
lvg

The newspapers are full of stories of "duel of honor" with guns. Where have these students been? There was such a shooting at Lenox Mall last weekend.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

Well written and well said.  Having had a daughter at Northern Ill when 25 people were shot (6 of whom died) by a lone gunman, the "sitting duck" analogy hits home.  


The shooter (Steven Kzamierczak) shot all the rounds in his gun.  He then had time to stop, reload the gun, and kill more people.  All the while, no one could do anything about it because...they were in a "gun free safe zone".


How many more mass shootings, which almost always happen in the "safe zones", will we have to cry over until people wake up to the fact that arming the good guys/gals, rather than forcing them to be sitting ducks, is a good idea?

Jeancena B Pearry
Jeancena B Pearry

Right,...so I can shoot my instructor for "making me fail"...really!!!? Let's be reasonable on that....

David Clark
David Clark

Please cite one example of a GWCL holder doing what you fantasize about.....waiting...


Tony Browne
Tony Browne

They don't look to bright do they.......?

insideview
insideview

Young adults and guns are always a bad combination. 

Leroy Rodriguez Cunningham
Leroy Rodriguez Cunningham

For the Love of God. It's more complicated than what these students wants. They have to understand that there would be hundreds to thousands of armed civilians in a condensed environment. How would the Police be able to identify a suspect if you have 800 plus students with guns drawn on a campus? Let's be logical. It's not about violating anyone's right. \U0001f612.

P-Evans
P-Evans

Really? You've been watching too many movies, LOL! I too enjoy those movies where hundreds of people are pointing guns at the same time at the bad guy. It's rather humorous.

Getting back to real life, I suppose that police will sort out the bad guys and good guys just like they do outside the boundary lines of a college campus. If they cannot do so now within those lines, perhaps it is a law-enforcement training issue that needs to be addressed.

Police certainly have no major problems identifying unarmed murder victims after a mass school shooting. Logically, do you not see that the ability to shoot back in self-defense would reduce the body count, if not outright deter such crimes?

Only 21 year old licensed adults would have been allowed to conceal (not openly carry) a pistol (not a rifle) on public colleges in GA under HB 859. The same people that now legally carry everywhere else in GA around kids, teenagers, college students, and professors. 

Even with HB 859 now out of the picture, drunken, stressed, mentally deranged pot-head college students can still bring a concealed pistol to class and shoot the professor over a bad grade or during a "sensitive" topic discussion. The presence or absence of such a law does not stop this from happening.

The difference is that a lawful carrier will probably not be armed to stop the attack. But that is okay to you? 

Phillip Evans
PursuitOfPatriotism.Blogspot.com

Mark Cosby
Mark Cosby

What a wonderful peace we'd have if everyone everywhere thought everyone else could be packing heat. Stupidity.

P-Evans
P-Evans

You pass by them every single day if you are in Georgia. At parks, grocery stores, malls, theaters, etc.

But out of sight, out of mind gives you comfort from the idea of a citizen peacefully carrying a firearm?

Sharon Lariscy Feld
Sharon Lariscy Feld

How does one determine who is good and bad? White hats and black hats?

P-Evans
P-Evans

Common sense and open eyes, really.


If you see me at Kroger with a shopping cart and feeling the honeydew melons while wearing my holstered pistol, you can probably assume I'm just there shopping, not robbing. LOL!

Joseph Walton
Joseph Walton

There are numerous well armed and well trained law enforcement officers on campus, and criminals know that too.

Cody Allen
Cody Allen

If we're worried about safety on campus then hire more campus security, simple.

Jason Rains
Jason Rains

A PhD student should have more sense than to think about this issue in terms of good guys and bad guys. You're talking about densely populated areas full of young people under extreme amounts of stress. Criminals will be criminals, but we don't have to foster situations where people are taking guns into frat houses and getting drunk, or getting depressed from a difficult semester and happening to have a gun on hand. I think that by allowing guns on campuses, we'd be creating public safety hazards where they didn't exist before, without significantly reducing instances of premeditated criminality. Plus, something about guns on campus just seems to go against the whole spirit of higher education.

Joseph Schriefer
Joseph Schriefer

....except that campus housing and frat houses wouldnt have been legalized with this bill

Jason Rains
Jason Rains

Do you think no students would have taken a gun into a dorm or frat house?

Joseph Schriefer
Joseph Schriefer

You mean the same 21 and over students with a GWL who drink off campus as it stands now would somehow magically be transformed into hooligans with firearms for no other reason than they crossed an invisible boundary onto a college campus?

Jason Rains
Jason Rains

I'm not following you on this invisible boundary stuff.

Jason Rains
Jason Rains

Um, no. I mean the likelihood of dangerous behavior will increase without making a significant dent in existing crime. Again, you're thinking about it in terms of good guys and bad guys. That's not the real world.

Roberta Cromlish
Roberta Cromlish

I dare you to cite 2 examples of anywhere in the country where campus carry is law that there have been any incidents caused by a legal carrier. I double dog dare you!

Jason Rains
Jason Rains

I doubt there have been any, yet. It's only in the past couple of years that states started implementing campus carry, and it's still only in effect in seven states. The overwhelming majority of college students don't want to carry a gun, so we're still talking about an extreme minority actually bringing guns on campus and I'm sure that minority is mostly very responsible. But when something does happen, let's be honest: you're still going to make excuses and blame everything other than the boneheaded practice of allowing the most stressed-out, emotionally volatile people on the planet to walk around armed in a place of learning. I don't understand this insistence from the pro-gun crowd that nobody carrying a gun legally could POSSIBLY commit a crime with that gun, or the continued denial of every available statistic suggesting that carrying a gun (even legally) increases ones chances of both being shot and committing a crime oneself. I would expect those likelihoods increase even further when you bring the pressure cooker that is academic life into the mix, but thankfully we don't have the data yet to know one way or the other.

Joseph Schriefer
Joseph Schriefer

Please explain how the likelihood of dangerous behavior will increase for GWL holders simply based on crossing an invisible boundary. stick to reality here.

Ted Brackney
Ted Brackney

Whether or not the original poster is correct doesn't really matter... Fact: profs who identify on both sides of the political aisle are mostly against legislation like this and will avoid states which allow for it. This is a blow that GA simply cannot take.. UGA, GT, and Emory are simply far too important to the state's economy and reputation.

Jason Rains
Jason Rains

I just mean that I didn't say anything about an invisible boundary. You're the one who keeps saying "invisible boundary." I briefly explained why I think a college campus is not a good place for people to carry firearms, not sure what else you're trying to get from me here.

David Clark
David Clark

Since the individuals, according to your research (students) seem to be chronic substance abusers (drugs and alcohol), mentally unstable (unable to process depression & stress), I propose they be reported to law enforcement.  This will allow these troubled students to have a lifetime weapons ban carry.  Also, since they are attending a public institution, random drug and alcohol tests should be performed and used as a criteria for expulsion.  With so many dysfunctional students as you correctly point out, all on-campus day care facilities should be immediately closed especially when considering the danger students pose.  "Public safety hazards" have no room in and around children in daycare.


P-Evans
P-Evans

HB 859 did not allow firearms in dorms, frat houses, or at athletic events. Please read the bill again before making uninformed comments.

P-Evans
P-Evans

You've just made my point. There is nothing stopping this from happening now, even after the veto of HB 859. 

Shannon Carey
Shannon Carey

17-24 year olds, living in small spaces, binge-drinking (or even "just a couple beers"), under immense social and academic pressure, do NOT need to possess weapons on campus. This would be asking for mass shootings. This age is ripe for suicide and psychological breaks. There are better ways of dealing with campus safety and personal safety. Guns are not always the answer, and are not the only answer.

Shannon Carey
Shannon Carey

Background check does not equal mental health check. Not impressed or feeling corrected in my "ignorance" of the bill. Again, these so-called adults who are of age for sound decision making continuously exhibit poor decision making abilities. Drinking + guns = death. Very simple.

Sara Foster
Sara Foster

And again, another person exhibiting ignorance of the bill. It would ONLY APPLY to those 21 years old and older who have a concealed carry permit, and you have to undergo a background check to get a CCP.

William Mason
William Mason

Students haven't a need to carry a weapon! That's why there are police force are for!

P-Evans
P-Evans

Tell that to all the unarmed dead college students that might have had the chance to fight back had campus carry been legal in their state.


The police got there in time to bring the body bags. Please try focusing on reality, okay?

Mitch Bosworth
Mitch Bosworth

Well would you look at that.... A college student with some practical common sense.

Jeff Oziah
Jeff Oziah

What part of "shall not be infringed" do people not understand?

Elizabeth Slattery
Elizabeth Slattery

A lot of us disagree. A gun will never prevent the element of surprise if b kept out of the hands of someone who loses their grip on reality. I don't want to be on campus when someone loses it and lose my life.

P-Evans
P-Evans

When someone loses their grip, will campus carry being illegal stop them from bringing a gun to take lives?

John Totten
John Totten

Mmm from living close in I can tell you that plenty of campus police patrolling around no matter what time of day/night. Unless someone is totally whacked out, would look elsewhere to cause problems

P-Evans
P-Evans

Yeah, those police patrols prevented those 4 armed robberies from occurring in the GSU library. Not!

Dave Mead
Dave Mead

Carrying a weapon in a public place doesn't make you safer. That's because an armed aggressor has the advantage of knowing ahead of time that he's about to rob you, whereas you, the victim, are caught by surprise. So, the aggressor has the drop on you from the git-go. If anything, his knowing that you may be armed is more likely to get you shot. Carry some pepper spray, for chrissakes. Guns in the home are another matter. You may hear someone trying to break in, for example, in which case being armed may save your life.

Dave Mead
Dave Mead

I'm sure you would've handled it.

P-Evans
P-Evans

Being unarmed makes you safer? Not all crimes go down as you proffered. Sometimes someone else will be attacked, and you will have the ability to stop that attack.

But there are several cases where the bad guy got the drop, and was still dropped by the good guy that was not a trained professional. Google them. I bet those good guys were glad they was armed.