Opinion: Georgia lawmakers to push again for guns on campus. Raise your voice in opposition.

Nationwide, students are protesting campaigns to open college campuses to firearms. (AJC file)

In a column today, Matthew Boedy, an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition at the University of North Georgia, addresses the plan by the Georgia House to resurrect the campus carry bill in the upcoming legislative session.  Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a “campus carry” gun bill in May.

That bill, House Bill 859, would have allowed anyone who was at least 21 years old with a state-issued concealed weapons permit to carry a firearm on Georgia’s public college and university campuses. The only exceptions were for on-campus dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses, and at athletic events.

House Speaker David Ralston now says legislators are preparing a new version of campus carry despite a lack of strong public support for guns on campus. A poll this summer found 56 percent of Georgians approved Deal‘s veto of the campus carry bill. Asked whether the Legislature should pass a campus carry bill in this upcoming session, only 37 percent of respondents said “yes.”

By Matthew Boedy

Well, here we go again.

I’m not talking about Speaker David Ralston and the Georgia House writing a new “campus carry” bill, as reported by WABE.

I’m talking about the approach to this proposed policy by those who oversee the state university system and the presidents of those universities. Yes, all of them came out against House Bill 859, last year’s version of this dangerous idea was vetoed by Gov. Nathan Deal. But even with that bold political statement, there were whispers from “the top” to faculty and staff that putting up too much of a fight would alienate legislators, particularly those who write the budget.

And faculty have heard this whispering again from the new University System of Georgia Chancellor: don’t piss off legislators, particularly those still smarting from the governor’s veto.

This is not the right time for such advice. I urge the university system and its leaders to heed different voices.

First, we need to hear more from moms (and dads) who have lost children to gun violence. We need to heed the voices of members of Mother Emanuel church in Charleston. They are not calling for armed congregants in response to nine of their own being gunned down by a man trying to start a race war. Those who have lost don’t want more guns, more death.

We need to remember the voice of Gov. Deal. Speaker Ralston mentioned addressing some of the more “technical” concerns raised early in the process, like protecting child care centers on campus from the presence of guns. But Gov. Deal’s veto message implied such changes would not satisfy him; he laid out a philosophical argument against the idea altogether. As legislators meet to devise their strategies for the upcoming session, I as a professor of rhetoric urge them to heed the ideals defining higher education that the governor noted. He wrote: “From the early days of our nation and state, colleges have been treated as sanctuaries of learning where firearms have not been allowed.”

It is not a contradiction to say one might be able to constitutionally carry a gun in a shopping center and be barred from carrying it across the street on a campus. It is on purpose and has been for centuries in this state. Education is fundamentally changed when guns and threats of violence – whether to secure or scare – are part of it. A ban on guns isn’t erasing anyone’s Second Amendment rights. It is balancing those rights with the right for free expression, free from threats of harm and intimidation, free from coercion and authoritarianism.

Another voice to be heeded is the faculty senates of every school in this state, who all condemn “campus carry.” Another is the American Association of University Professors, the group that represents thousands of faculty across the nation. It is against campus carry. Our local Georgia AAUP Conference, where I am a member, fully endorses the AAUP’s position. And the University System of Georgia’s official Faculty Council endorsed that position last year as well.

The AAUP noted in a 2015 statement that “college campuses are marketplaces of ideas, and a rigorous academic exchange of ideas may be chilled by the presence of weapons. Students and faculty members will not be comfortable discussing controversial subjects if they think there might be a gun in the room.” This is the report we hear from Texas, where “campus carry” began in August. If you want children to learn – to think independently, to understand and empathize with different people, to lead – then I urge you to fight strongly against guns on campus.

And then listen to students. They rallied across the state in the spring against campus carry. A survey of more than 5,700 Georgia Tech students showed 70 percent do not want guns on their campus. This echoes surveys I have done with my students. They are saying no to the fear that aims to persuade us that criminals are lurking behind every corner and people who wish us harm are picking “soft targets” like campuses.

This just isn’t true, according to a study published in October. Researchers aimed to determine whether concealed carry on college campuses would reduce or increase violence. According to one news report, the study found that “the vast majority of high-casualty mass shootings have happened in places where guns are allowed…” So then “policies that allow individuals to bring firearms onto college campuses are unlikely to lead to fewer mass shootings or fewer casualties from those shootings.”

I too am listening to the voices of “campus carry” supporters. I have invited them to my classroom in the spring along with legislators who oppose the policy. I want students to hear both sides, and ponder the consequences.

I hope when these legislators come to my campus they will see it is one of the safest places in this state, like other campuses. And colleges are safe not merely because our police are well-trained, well-funded, and serve bravely. It is because higher education teaches us how to disarm our quarrels before they reach the level of violence. It teaches us how to argue without being threatening. It teaches us how to seek justice broadly, not impose it singularly through the barrel of a gun.

If we are to go through this debate again, let’s set the terms ourselves as those whom this policy would affect the most. It is not a debate about rights or government taking those rights. It is about learning freedom and learning freely. It is about the special place that is higher education.

 

Reader Comments 0

68 comments
An American Patriot
An American Patriot

You know what, folks?.......this column just represents the ultra Liberal AJC's weak attempt to assist the disruption of the transition of power from the weakest person to ever hold the Office Of The President Of The United States Of America to President-Elect Donald J. Trump who will Make America Great Again.  Mr. Trump is a staunch 2nd Amendment Advocate and this represents a feeble attempt to undermine his presidency.  My opinion is that an adult person, 21 years of age or older, with a proper permit should be able to carry a concealed weapon just about anywhere.  Our country, because of the decisions made by bhusseino has become a battleground and we should be able to protect ourselves from those who would attempt to harm us.  Folks, get your head out of the sand and look around at all the Policemen and Policewomen who are trying to protect us and are getting killed at a record pace. Campus carry should be approved by all States.  We have to keep our country strong against those who want to destroy our way of life.........TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY.

BarryHirsh
BarryHirsh

The professor reverts to type, as if he'd ever left (PUN!). A screed full of lies and half-truths.


Yo, Professor. Give it up. The tide has turned decisively against you. As an indicator, Ohio not only passed (and Kasich signed into law) campus carry, but the bill included a wipeout of all sorts of previously prohibited areas.

And that was up NORTH, not in deep-South Geo'gia.

Your goose is cooked. Move on to another ridiculous crusade.

quaterhorselady
quaterhorselady

@BarryHirsh The tide HAS turned against guns everywhere and on college campuses.  More mothers, fathers, POLICE, college professors, students, survivors of gun violence, clergy are against campus carry and so is the governor.  We came out in numbers far greater that the NRA and the smaller georgiacarry.org folks.  We used reason, statistics, and the fact that we are in the majority.  We packed the hearing room for ALL the hearings.  We will not give up.  We will not give in to the gun culture that loves guns more than their own children.  Guns are the problem in the hands of immature college students...and MOST adults.

HowdyJune
HowdyJune

There is no basis for allowing guns on college campuses in Georgia.  How many times during this past year or ever that cries out for this legislation?  This legislation, as it now exists, will allow only those 21 years of age and older to carry guns.  That means that virtually all freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will NOT be able to carry guns.  I taught at the college level for years prior to retirement and simply would not stand in front of a class where students were able to carry guns.  I met with students in regularly and sometimes had to deliver some very emotional-producing bad news - "Yes, you did fail this course".  Parents don't like that kind of news and that puts some very young people in some very difficult positions.  A gun in hand in that kind of situation too often leads to tragedy.  Or have you ever been to a frat party or a sorority party on campus?  Whether legal or not, wasn't there a lot of alcohol present?  All too often, we read about the tragic results when our young people and alcohol mix - now add guns to the mix. Unfortunately, we are very likely to get campus-carry because that is what those in the gun lobby want and they are they ones who are organized to contribute to political campaigns.  I am retired now. My children are grown and have graduated from college.  But I really sympathize for those who stand in front of college classes each day in Georgia and for those parents who face an agonizing decision about whether they want their kids to sit in classrooms or attend other functions on college campuses where guns are allowed by law.

quaterhorselady
quaterhorselady

@HowdyJune Join us, the MomsDemandActionforGunSenseInAmerica!  We are a force to be reckoned with and we will not give up!


Andy McClure
Andy McClure

And yet, those Gun Free Zone signs just can't live up to the panacea and magic that gun control supporters try to con people into believing they have, as time and time again, GFZs seem to be the number one preference for whackos and nutjobs to commit their acts of violence and attention. People aren't buying that "feel good lie" any longer.

quaterhorselady
quaterhorselady

That's just the NRA and georgiacarry propaganda about gun free zones.  We can't be fooled by it and we will not tolerate guns on campus.


Ficklefan
Ficklefan

"Idiots" is exactly right. I am very pro-second amendment, and own a number of long guns and pistols, which are kept under lock and key, with ammunition locked up in a separate, hidden location,  but this guns everywhere thinking is just amazingly misguided - and not really a second amendment issue in my view.


When the founding fathers created and adopted the second amendment, they lived in a world where those who were armed - whether good or bad - ruled. They knew that an unarmed new nation, even after defeating the British, with the prospects and opportunities to grow the population and create wealth would be a sitting duck for the great powers and armies of Europe. And they also realized that in a dangerous new world comprised mostly of untamed wilderness, wild animals, and native Americans, not willing to go along with having their land taken, conquered, or stolen (a whole other topic), being armed was a necessity of life. 


And then of course you have the history of the Wild West - with no further explanation necessary regarding necessity of gun ownership in that world.


But the forefathers or early Americans did not carry their muskets, or pistols around with them every where they went. And the complete historical account of the Wild West is that it was a struggle to establish civilization. Law abiding citizens were working toward the establishment of law and order and places to live and raise families that did not require people to walk around armed all the time. 


In short, in America, the establishment of law, order, law enforcement, a judicial system, standing militias, and standing armies have all been aimed at working toward . . . civilization - the ability to survive under the protection of the law and not by carrying fire arms into schools, churches, bars, to work, to the ball game, etc. 


The second amendment was intended to help create civilization, and never put unarmed America or unarmed Americans in vulnerable situations with armed enemies, rebels, subversives, anarchists, etc. It is not about strapping on your six shooter and  taking it every where you go. Doing otherwise just helps to eat away the American civilization that was so painstakingly created by the sacrifices of those who have gone before us. 

newsphile
newsphile

@Ficklefan Exactly.  Our society has promoted the extreme left and the extreme right and that is what has gotten us into such a horrible mess.  We have lost all common sense.

BarryHirsh
BarryHirsh

@Ficklefan - Then, your guns are useless. And, you wish to impose that condition on everone else, because... why... "I do it, so it's the only right thing to do."


Get a load of yourself, bub.


Bearing arms is a fundamental right, and fundamental rights travel with you anyplace you have a legal right to be.

quaterhorselady
quaterhorselady

@BarryHirsh @Ficklefan Living in a civilized nation, without fear is THE Fundamental Right.  We had already achieved that when gun worshippers have managed to stoke fear, where there should be none, among an educated, fearless society.  The fear now is some unhinged guy (it's always a man) will shoot you for NOT MOVING FAST ENOUGH in front of your CHILDREN.  If you're afraid to live in the USA, go to where you need a gun...anywhere in the Third World, since that is your mentality.  Take your unregulated, fearful "militia" with you, because we already have a well-regulated police force, army, navy, air force, coast guard here and we don't need you making up conspiracy theories.


MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

To Lee (and readers):

Please see my comments below regarding the perceptions of Founding Father Thomas Jefferson. Republicans, today, would be wise to see with more fluidity and less rigidity. Doing so would help to bring them more insight and more humanity, imho.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@MaryElizabethSings

I think Thomas Jefferson was very clear on his thoughts concerning the 2nd Amendment:


"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
- Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft 1, 1776


"I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787


"What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787


"The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
- Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776


"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks." - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 19, 1785


"The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to to John Cartwright, 5 June 1824

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

"Quotations of Thomas Jefferson," published by Applewood Books, Inc., 2003, pages 10 and 11:

"The bulk of mankind are schoolboys through life."

"I cannot live without books."

"Let common sense and common honesty have fair play, and they will soon set things to rights."

And page 13:

"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government

BarryHirsh
BarryHirsh

@MaryElizabethSings - "infringement" BY DEFINITION.


The thang sez...."shall not be Infringed."


There are no workarounds, there is no 'living constitution'. It sez wut it sez and it iz wut it iz.

BarryHirsh
BarryHirsh

@newsphile @Lee_CPA2 @MaryElizabethSings - The correct punctuation is ONE comma, not three. 

Generically, it says "Because of THAT, we guarantee THIS."


The right exists independent of any conditions, and the amendment says that it must STAY that way.

quaterhorselady
quaterhorselady

@BarryHirsh @MaryElizabethSings "the purpose being a "well-regulated" militia.  So which well-regulated militia are you in?  Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, police?  You would be more credible if you didn't spell like a 1st grader.


MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Again, Jefferson had a fluid, insightful, and nuanced mind. I am not advocating taking away the right of Americans to bear arms altogether - only to limit where those arms may be carried and to what degree of arms citizens of today may have. That is simply common sense adjusting to the effects of uncontrolled use of arms on today's societies.

newsphile
newsphile

@Lee_CPA2 @MaryElizabethSings Two points:  first, read the second amendment with the correct punctuation and it speaks to allowing the country to form a militia for the protection of all; second, every college student having a gun would be a good idea in the minds of very few people. 

markjo
markjo

Sorry, only idiots want guns everywhere.  That includes the "legislators" who keep pushing it.  Are they all bought by NRA, haven't a grain of common sense, or afraid they will be shot by the gun nuts if they don't keep allowing all guns everywhere?  No amount of shootings by people who have guns legally seems to faze them.  Including child victims who shoot themselves or someone in their home shoots them.

RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

The left has effectively eliminated first amendment rights on campus unless you toe their line; now they are emboldened to take the 2nd, as well.


Why does an adult citizen forfeit their constitutional rights on a campus? The arguments are the same that the left make about guns in general.

UltraElf
UltraElf

@WhiteRabbit oh, some muslim pissed off at people because he did not get his safe place to pray five times a day comes on campus and starts shooting non muslims. Nothing to see here-just democratic law in play.

Astropig
Astropig

I would just point out to my state rep (John Deffenbaugh-House District 1) that it took a good guy with a gun to stop the campus stabbings at Ohio State University last month.Good intentions were ineffective,in that particular case.



Astropig
Astropig

@Ralph-43 @Astropig


He was a cop. He worked for the people you call when there is trouble-unless you are out protesting them for doing their jobs,that is.But his gun sure came in handy,didn't it?

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@Ralph-43 @Astropig

Yes, he was a law-abiding American citizen.  You are absolutely correct in noting that he was a member of the citizen militia.


"I  ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers."

- George Mason, Address to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 4, 1788

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

@Astropig The 'Good Guy' was a member of the 'Well Regulated Militia' as outlined in the Second Amendment. 

newsphile
newsphile

@Astropig @Ralph-43 One would expect cops to be allowed to carry their guns which is very different from every college student toting.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Good God!  So many of Georgia's problems can be traced back to our legislators and the fools that continue to elect them!

Lexi3
Lexi3

On Yale economist John Lott's book, More Guns, Less Crime: “This sophisticated analysis yields a well-established conclusion that supports the wisdom of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution rather than of those who would limit the right of law-abiding citizens to own and carry guns.… Lott has done us all a service by his thorough, thoughtful scholarly approach to a highly controversial issue.”—Milton Friedman**

****************

Who are they to argue with the assistant professor of rhetoric from the hills of North Georgia?



**Nobel Prize winning economist quoted in: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/493636.html


Astropig
Astropig

@Lexi3


Thank you for posting that.I hadn't seen this guy's work before now and it was very interesting.

UltraElf
UltraElf

@Lexi3 oh I thought you meant Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama who won the thing ninety days into office. What a farce THAT prize is. the BS award!

Mack68
Mack68

Crazy. I spent 4 years on Tech campus in the early 90s in grad school when the surrounding area was much more "sketchy" than it is now. This proposal is bat sh&t crazy justification for people who just want to pack wherever and whenever. Not based on actual threats.

Just NO. 

Starik
Starik

@Mack68 Did they ever catch the individual who was robbing students in the Georgia State libraries?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Georgia's legislators are primarily Republicans.  The Republican worldview has shown itself to value power, money, and authority, which are indicators of a hierarchical vision of humankind.  


In contrast, imo, the trajectory of humankind is moving more in the direction of an egalitarian consciousness in which all human beings will be perceived as equals in the eyes of God.  This means that the hierarchical consciousness of humankind will be fading, over time. 


The egalitarian consciousness fosters an environment, especially on college campuses, in which community more than dominance, prevails, and in which communication, more than coercion, is valued.  Allowing guns on college campuses is anathema to that emerging egalitarian consciousness.  


https://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/where-have-republicans-been-and-where-are-they-going-from-here/

RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

@MaryElizabethSings No. their "Republican worldview" chooses the US Constitution over your thoughts that you value so highly. The Constitution will often disagree with you and your fellow leftists' great minds.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Thomas Jefferson: "Nothing is unchangeable except the inalienable rights of man." That perspective includes the U.S. Constitution.

Mankind evolves over time to have greater and more spiritually true insight. Jefferson knew that to be true and, thus, he had a fluid, not a rigid, mind.

LookCloser
LookCloser

Dumb Sheep!  How did this pansy liberal way of thinking get so thick in this country.  These sheep would rather cower behind a desk, maybe grab a pencil and stab "the bad guy" when they are assaulted on campus by evil.  Well.....good luck with that you wimps.  Pure and absolute stupid.....  I prefer a human who has the guts to stand up against evil rather than rail against law abiding citizens with guns who at least want the option to protect themselves and others.  I think the pansy squad needs to tattoo themselves with a target on their foreheads so the bad guys know who ain't gonna fight back, and so the good guys won't waste a bullet protecting them.

RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

@Wascatlady @LookCloser I hope not. But as an adult who owns a handgun for self-defense who has been trained to use it safely and holds a legal license to carry it, why do I forfeit my 2nd amendment rights when I go on campus?

Lauren Ess
Lauren Ess

College students said they didn't want guns on campus the last time this came up. What is compelling lawmakers to push guns in schools then? Also, suicide is the most common reason for death in colleges because of how stress impacts college-age students -- We don't need guns in those students' hands. If the law passes, let's pay attention to how many more suicides and homicides are completed on campuses using fire arms. Throw in lack of anger management for some and a not-completely-developed prefrontal cortex for anyone under 25 and student's shouldn't have guns in schools for those reasons. I could go on. If lawmakers are that concerned about getting guns in schools to protect against an outside attack (if that's even it), hire an off-duty officer -- who is TRAINED, not just licensed -- for each school. They could stay near entrances to "protect" and we could call it a day on this topic. People need to be as passionate this go-round as last or else this will get passed.

quaterhorselady
quaterhorselady

Guns make suicide completely successful.  To an immature mind facing an obstacle that they are too immature to overcome a GUN doesn't give you a SECOND CHANCE.  (stupid men!)