Why is Georgia Legislature so intent on arming college students with guns?

At a protest Tuesday, March 21, University of Georgia students gathered at the Arch to oppose the 2017 campus carry bill that passed the Legislature and is now on the governor’s desk. (John Roark/ Athens Banner-Herald via AP)

Why does the Legislature keep pushing guns on Georgia college campuses? Polls repeatedly show students, parents and university officials don’t want armed 21-year-olds on the state’s public campuses.

To build a case that armed students are safer students, gun advocates in the Georgia Legislature evoke crime-ridden campuses and predatory professors. But the data doesn’t support that dystopian view. When you look at violent crime statistics, college campuses remain among the safest places in Georgia.

Who steps onto the campuses of University of Georgia, Kennesaw State or Georgia Southern and wishes they had a gun in their waistband? Most of us probably wish we were 18 again.

Yet, state Rep. Mandi Ballinger, R-Canton, contends her bill, House Bill 280, is vital to ensuring students are not defenseless from the threat of a rising crime wave. Her bill would allow students 21 and older with conceal carry permits to be armed everywhere on campus except dormitories, sorority and fraternity houses, athletic events, on-campus child care centers and buildings that house high school classes.

Most of the sexual assaults Ballinger cites in support of campus carry occur in social settings where the victim knows the offender. Half involve alcohol. If lawmakers wants to protect students from sexual assault, equip them with information on alcohol abuse, date rape and affirmed consent, not with firearms.

The bill echoes the campus carry legislation passed last year by the General Assembly and vetoed by Gov Nathan Deal after an outcry from students, parents and university leaders.

I have two high school seniors likely to attend the University of Georgia or Georgia Tech in the fall. Georgia mandates no firearms safety training to carry a gun. It is hard to fathom my children or anyone else’s would be safer sitting alongside an armed classmate with no training. The only people who should be carrying guns across our colleges are campus police.

A study by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research looked at what guns are being used for on college campuses. The report, “Firearms on College Campuses: Research Evidence and Policy Implications,” found 85 incidents of shootings or undesirable discharges of firearms on U.S. campuses from January 2013 through June 2016.

Only two involved a shooter on a rampage. Most were interpersonal disputes that escalated into gun violence; 12 percent were suicides or murder/suicides and 9 percent were unintentional shootings or discharges.

The conclusion of the Hopkins researchers: “Increasing gun availability in campus environments could make far more common acts of aggression, recklessness, or self-harm more deadly and, thus, have a deleterious impact on the safety of students, faculty, and staff.”

State Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, warned her colleagues the problem of crime on campus cannot be solved by kids with guns. She is right.

“We cannot solve this problem by arming our children,” she said. “We have to arm them with awareness and good sense.”

 

 

 

Reader Comments 0

39 comments
PhredHuber
PhredHuber

Thank you, Rep. Karla Drenner, for having the common sense and taking the higher ground on this bill.

Annette Laing
Annette Laing

Once again: Why bother with HOPE and MOWR to try to keep high-achieving students in GA, only to chase off educated people with this nonsense?

Chris Mashburn
Chris Mashburn

HOPE is going down all the time so if it chases off a bunch of students then that is a HUGE PLUS for other students on HOPE.

Chris Mashburn
Chris Mashburn

TECH has higher achieving student then UGa and they are being targeted because the criminals know the students can't have guns.

independentiii
independentiii

"Why does the Legislature keep pushing guns on Georgia college campuses?"

Because the NRA,  members make up less than 5% of the US population, controls them -- with $$$ and intimidation.  

Why do the vast majority put up with this nonsense?

junebug2
junebug2

I am a generally conservative voter, but I think the effort to turn Georgia colleges into armed camps is absurd.  The idea that public places would be safer if everyone carried in his pocket the capability to destroy other human beings by moving his finger 1/8 of inch is nonsense.  What this does is escalate minor irritations and grievances into murder and mayhem.  Consider the recent incident in which a retired Tampa police officer (i.e., a supposedly "mature," trained gun owner) with a pistol fatally shot a person in a theater who irritated him by texting.  If the retired officer had not been armed with a gun, no one would have been killed. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

What percentage of college students are even 21-and-older?

Moronic stuff, this, even if you are dumb enough to think that "more guns = less crime."

JudyR.Daniels
JudyR.Daniels


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Wrecker
Wrecker

You missed the point.  This is not about compelling students to carry guns.  This is about eliminating unreasonable restrictions that prevent students from protecting themselves and allowing them to exercise their Second Amendment rights.  

dg417s
dg417s

Until class is over and they head back to the dorm for the night. Where is the funding for gun lockers on campus?

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

Know the DATA.  Registered gun owners are statistically, significantly more likely to commit murder, twice as likely to be murdered and 3 times as likely to commit suicide (Univ Penn LDI Issue Brief 2003;8(8), 1-4; Ann Int Med, Jan, 2014). Anyone who is shot and survives is 21 times more likely to be shot again and 5 times more likely to die than those wounded by some weapon other than a gun or injured in an accident (Ann Int Med, April, 2015).States with high gun ownership (Montana, Arkansas, Alabama and Idaho) kill law enforcement officers 3 times more often than states with low gun ownership (Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey) (American Journal of Public Health, 2015).

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

On a side note, saw a meme the other day that said "Legal gun owners have over 300 million guns and probably over 1 trillion rounds of ammo.  If we were the problem, you would know it."

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

@Lee_CPA2 We know it.  Stolen guns and concealed carry.  (Read New York Police Commissioner and Attorney General Op-Ed in Wall Street Journal today, 3-24-17).

Wrecker
Wrecker

@Ralph-43 @Lee_CPA2 Give me a single (just one) example of a person in Georgia with a concealed carry permit committing a crime.  


The fact is, people with concealed carry licenses are 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for violent offenses than the general public and 13.5 times less likely to be arrested for non-violent offenses than the general public.  

independentiii
independentiii

@Wrecker @Ralph-43 @Lee_CPA2 

"example of a person in Georgia with a concealed carry permit committing a crime"

I am sure people with "concealed carry permit' commit crimes all the time, every day.  They are special, or something?

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Let's say I'm in Athens Ga and walking down Broad St.  Oh look, there are the UGA Arches, let's take our picture.  Step a few feet off the sidewalk and you are now a criminal if you are carrying concealed.


That's one of many idiosyncrasies and pitfalls this bill tries to address.  What if I stand there?  Okay.  What about there?  Criminal.

There?  Okay.   How about there?  Criminal.


Being able to protect one's self against an attack is a side benefit of the 2nd Amendment.  The real question is whether the Constitution is still the law of the land.

independentiii
independentiii

ever had sex with your wife (or anyone, for that matter) after they had had 2+ drinks?  That would be a crime, too intoxicated to give 'consent'.

Libertylover
Libertylover

I notice she omits Ga Tech and GSU from her list of campuses where 21-year-old students couldn't possibly benefit from being armed.

Casey Sharp
Casey Sharp

Chris, thanks for the expected ad hominem. Meanwhile, most people in GA and almost all faculty oppose this insane rule, but hey- GUNs. Pow pow. Bang. Cold dead hands etc. Any wanna be cowboys in an active shooter situation are just as likely to be riddled with holes by a SWAT team or campus police. PS. This libtard snowflake loves shooting guns- just not on campus at my mentally ill students who are packing when I tell them they failed a class and will lose their scholarship. God bless \U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8

Chris Mashburn
Chris Mashburn

Casey Sharp Teachers are LIBERAL Puzzies living a JOKE. If you students are Mentally Ill then how could they be in college much less getting a Scholarship?

Casey Sharp
Casey Sharp

As a former UGA instructor who taught some students who clearly had mental health problems I am just going to go ahead and say NO. You can own a gun- we simply don't want it on our campus. NRA needs to mind its own damn business & leave education to educators.

Chris Mashburn
Chris Mashburn

Casey Sharp All the students at UGa have mental issues as we all know but until they do something to no longer have gun rights they have a right to have a gun. The TRUTH is very few students on campus are even of age to get a CCP. You have to be 21 to get a CCP. You can't legally be drinking and carry a gun. Education to LIBERAL wimp educators you mean.

John Knox
John Knox

What if faculty interpret this as their chance to come to class with weapons, stressed-out researchers armed to the teeth and with a proposal due at 5 pm. "ARE... THERE... ANY... QUESTIONS????!!!!!?????""

Chris Mashburn
Chris Mashburn

John Knox if they have passed the background checks and there are no issues then YES faculty has that RIGHT as well. What part of that is so over your Liberal Wimp Head?

Casey Sharp
Casey Sharp

Chris, can you stop resorting to name calling like our childish President? Maybe you get off on it, but it does not advance your case. In any event, most mental disorders show up between the ages of 18-25. Also, again- trying to play cowboy in an active shooter situation is a great way get shot by police or a SWAT team. Personally, I would drop any student who registered for my course and carried a firearm. I used to live in Israel where teenagers regularly carry their M16s on campus while on IDF service, and I did not worry about them there. I do here- too many American NRA types view their weapons as toys, a part of their identity, or some impotent extension of their genitals. God bless

John Knox
John Knox

Chris, this Liberal Wimp Head professor actually is descended from the gunsmiths who made the Kentucky Long Rifles. Look up that bit of American history, in the rather likely case that you don't know a thing about guns. "Settle rifles" were made by my family; my great-grandmother was a Settle. With regard to mental illness, you also have no knowledge of college admissions policies or federal law. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) explicitly protects those with mental disabilities from discrimination, and this includes college students at public universities. That's not "living a JOKE," that's called obeying federal law. Read up: http://www.disabilityrightsnc.org/sites/default/files/2013 Higher Ed Self-Advocacy Packet Students with MI.pdf

RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

Why do the constitutional rights of an adult (21 or older) stop at the campus boundary?

Astropig
Astropig

Totally false premise.The legislature is not trying to arm anyone.The legislature is seeking to allow students to arm themselves if they think that they need to.If as many people as liberals claim don't want this,then almost no one will go armed,and things won't change significantly.


If we follow the above line of reasoning,we can ask why the government is trying to make college age women get abortions.

MissDaisyCook
MissDaisyCook

@Falcaints @Astropig

That problem being...........?  If the problem is a restriction of freedoms by denying Second Amendment rights on public college campus', then yes.  No one is being forced to arm themselves, but don't tell me I can't.

Falcaints
Falcaints

@Astropig Not really, they are addressing a problem that only exists in their minds.  Logic dictates the more weapons there are the more chances for someone to get shot.  Of all the things that we need to remedy this is not one of them

Wrecker
Wrecker

@MissDaisyCook @Falcaints @Astropig Not sure why they don't get that.  This is not about "forcing" guns into students' hands.  It is about eliminating an unreasonable restriction on a fundamental Constitutional right.

Falcaints
Falcaints

The same people who voted for Trump and think America is on the brink of collapse and of course the NRA

Wrecker
Wrecker

@Falcaints Seems to me that the people that I hear most often complaining that the world is about to end are people protesting against President Trump.  

Astropig
Astropig

@MissDaisyCook @bigcanoeboy


Totally law abiding students and professors are also on campus with guns,they just keep it quiet and discreet.No matter how much liberal ideology tries to deny human nature,it always asserts itself.


This particular bill may or may not get passed and signed.At this very moment I would tend to think not,but at some point,second amendment rights will prevail.It will eventually become law.Very determined people will see that it happens at some point.

MissDaisyCook
MissDaisyCook

@bigcanoeboy 

They are already there.  The bad guys are going to bring their guns, no matter what the law is.