Opinion: Crime data show Georgia college students, faculty, and staff don’t need 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)

Will he or won’t he?

That’s the question thousands of parents, Georgia college students and professors are wondering as Gov. Nathan Deal has 27 days left to veto the campus carry bill.

House Bill 280 would allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry firearms on public college and university campuses, with exceptions that include dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses, and buildings used for athletic events. On-campus child care centers would also be excluded, as would areas on some college campuses where high school students attend class.

Unclear is where Georgia college students who live on campus would store guns since firearms are not allowed in dorms. The sponsor of HB 280 contends most older students live off-campus, and they can bring their guns to class rather than leave them in their cars, which opponents contend would increase break-ins by gun thieves. In its campus carry law enacted last year, Texas allowed gun safes and lockers in university housing.

Opponents of the Georgia law are hoping the Oxford comma issue — does a missing comma in the list of places where guns would still be outlawed mean that faculty offices are only banned if they are also rooms where “disciplinary hearings are conducted” will cause Deal to veto.

University of North Georgia professor Matthew Boedy, who has emerged the most research-driven voice against guns on campus, hopes to give the governor more reason to veto the bill with his latest investigation into whether campus carry has enhanced student safety elsewhere.

By Matthew Boedy

On March 20, I wrote on this blog about my public records research into the link between guns on campus and stopping crime. I asked the University of Utah and Utah State University campus police for any report of a victim using a gun to stop a crime since those universities started “campus carry” in 2004. They had zero records.

Let me add to the list of schools with no such reports:

The University of Texas and Texas A&M University, where “campus carry” started Aug. 1.

The University of Idaho, Idaho State University, and Boise State University where “campus carry” started in 2014.

The University of Mississippi, where a limited version of “campus carry” started in 2013.

And Oregon State University, where “campus carry” started in 2012.

None of these schools had a single report of a rape, robbery, or other violent crime being halted by a gun. Not one since guns were allowed on campus. That’s more than 135 semesters (fall, spring, and summer) at nine major state universities in rural and urban settings, all with student populations on par with Georgia’s top tier schools.

Students, faculty, and staff on these campuses just don’t need guns.

Similarly, in Georgia there is no need. There is no crime wave as “campus carry” advocates persist in saying. There is no “200 percent” increase in rapes at Georgia Tech, as Rep. Mandi Ballinger claimed in her March 3 speech in favor of House Bill 280. Check the school’s campus safety report: 19 in 2014, and 10 in 2015. That’s a drop of about 50 percent. [She is likely referring to the Uniform Crime Reporting chart where 1 rape was reported in 2015 and 3 in 2016. Even the FBI warns against using those stats in such a context-less manner.]

And another fact on campus crime in Georgia: not one person has used a stun gun or Taser to stop a crime at five Georgia campuses since they were allowed last summer.

Our college campuses, like campuses nationwide, are overwhelmingly safer than other public areas. The numbers don’t lie. And in the case of guns stopping crimes on campus, the lack of numbers don’t lie either. House Bill 280 just is not needed.

Those pushing this policy consistently state that guns would be used to stop crimes.

But consider this story beginning on early Friday morning on the campus of the University of Mississippi. According to a campus police report, officers were called to a student’s near-campus apartment where there had been an armed robbery. A male student was assaulted and robbed at gunpoint by someone who took off toward campus. What was stolen? The student’s 9mm Glock.

The point: the gun owner couldn’t even stop the armed robbery of his own gun. And if you are wondering, police found the gun in the tank of a toilet in a campus apartment nearby and arrested someone in that apartment for the robbery.

One must wonder why “campus carry” has been a focus of the Georgia Legislature for so long. And why they didn’t learn anything from Governor Deal’s forceful veto last year.

He noted “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. I do not find that such justification exists.”

The lack of reports from other states also say that. If the states with “campus carry” teach us anything, it is that guns aren’t needed, aren’t used, and are only negative elements on campus, susceptible to accidental firings and other dangerous outcomes.

Consider this also from the files of Ole Miss police: In December 2014, a female Ole Miss student was almost hit by a stray bullet from a gun being “played with” in the adjacent apartment in a campus housing complex, according to a police report. No one in that adjacent apartment who heard or saw the gunshot called police. Police arrested the person they thought to be the shooter because guns are banned from student housing at Ole Miss, as they would be under House Bill 280. Yet that didn’t stop someone from having it and using it.

Or consider this third story from Ole Miss. Two members of the Ku Klux Klan were arrested in October after police found guns in their truck on the Oxford campus during a rally/protest of the Confederate flag. Ole Miss was in the process of removing the flag from campus and a large, predominantly black group was rallying for its removal while a large, predominantly white group, some wearing Klan shirts, were protesting.

Two points here. One, the men were charged with having guns on campus. In Mississippi it is illegal for the large majority of people to have guns on campus. Mississippi limits guns on campus to certain “enhanced” concealed permit holders. Georgia does not have such a tiered system.

Second, consider the more important part of this story: the presence of guns on campus during a highly charged, racially divided protest over a symbol that was used to justify the killing of, most recently, nine black church-goers in Charleston, SC. Knowing there might be guns would radically alter that protest in many ways. Or imagine a student nodding or pointing to their concealed gun in their bag during a class discussion. And suggesting to me, the professor, or another student that we might want to rethink our words.

These stories are the future for Georgia colleges and universities if House Bill 280 is signed into law. Other future stories would include the mixing of guns and alcohol, guns and mental illness, and guns and minors.

If you agree, call Gov. Deal and ask him to veto House Bill 280. He was right the first time on “campus carry.” Call: 404-656-1776 or Fax: 404-657-7332.  Or email Deal here.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

29 comments
jerryeads
jerryeads

 I'm 71 years old. On the farm, I learned how to be safe with rifles in 4H (and learned how to hunt) starting when I was eight. I was convinced the hard way to license for concealed carry when I was 30. Whenever it is legal to be armed since then, I am. I trained very intensively - and still do.  That does NOT mean simply going to a firing range and pointing a toy at one of those stupid human figure targets. 

I had the honor to play college professor for the last five years of my career. I learned then that the range of maturity is as broad as are the actual ages, but an 18-year-old can be going on 40, and a 70-year old can be going on 4 (not unlike the psychotic halfwit we didn't elect but got stuck with as president, thanks to the misrepresentative electoral college). 

Georgia has no competence requirements. As long as you haven't recently been convicted of robbing a bank, you can get a carry permit without having the slightest clue what to do with a gun. So if we allow campus carry with the current bill, we'll have equivalent 4-year-olds trotting around ready to pot the last professor who had no choice but to fail a kid for not doing any work.

I'd be perfectly fine with well-trained, reasonably mature individuals carrying on campus. It certainly must be possible to create a tiered permit system that takes into account rigorous training requirements. That goes for faculty as well as students. I had the misfortune of knowing a (very right wing) faculty member who was oh so proud of his "9 mil" Saturday special. That he'd never shot, never broke down. 

I'm very pleased that I don't have to deal with Georgia's idiot lawmakers on this issue. I'd sure hate to have to take down some immature kid for "requesting" an "A" for having done no work.

Barry Hirsh
Barry Hirsh

Two things:

1) You don't get to decide what others 'need'.
2) Fundamental rights aren't based upon nor can be attenuated by what any human determines as a 'need'.

Your opinion is SOL from top to bottom.

Odysseus M Tanner
Odysseus M Tanner

Guns aren't needed on campus because things like VA Tech never happened!  Got it.


Newsflash: "Data", is not relevant to the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

JB-
JB-

@Odysseus M Tanner It absolutely is. Your "right" comes from the Constitution, which can be amended when new facts arise - like when they discovered blacks and women were people and they amended it to give them the right to vote. I'm a gun-owner and I see no need to carry firearms everywhere I go, nor do I feel threatened when someone proposes something sensible like requiring training.


Barry Hirsh
Barry Hirsh

@JB- @Odysseus M Tanner - You need a remedial course in American Civics. Our "right" doesn't come from the Constitution, it is guaranteed BY the Constitution. Rights are not granted by humans, they are endowed by nature and nature's god. They are intrinsic.


"The right there specified is that of 'bearing arms for a lawful purpose'. This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence." - U.S. v. Cruikshank (1875)

USMC2841
USMC2841

Boedy, Boedy, Boedy.

Three times now you have mentioned his one sided findings.  I'll agree the Universities listed have not had any cases of defensive gun use but Mr. Boedy must also agree that none of those campuses have had an issue with a licensed gun owner causing any harm.  What other civil rights does Mr. Boedy think we should cede upon entering a campus?

Rich Seibert
Rich Seibert

Mindless gun-free zones are what mass shootings have in common. They are killing zones, free from good guys with guns. That’s why the Aurora movie theater killer chose the more distant theater where guns were not allowed and thus where he wouldn’t have to worry about his plan being foiled.

 

dawg fan
dawg fan

Don't bother bringing facts into this discussion Maureen.  The stupid redneck morons who think everyone is trying to take their guns are not interested in facts.  They are only interested in believing they are right and that everyone else is wrong.  Talking to these people is like talking to a freaking mental patient and I am not at all kidding about that.  They do not live in reality. 

USMC2841
USMC2841

@dawg fan Final Fact...


Per capita African Americans are now applying for more carry permits than any other ethnic group.  This doesn't fit your redneck narrative but they've grown tired of the violence in their neighborhoods.

USMC2841
USMC2841

@dawg fan Here's a fact...

Between 2007 and 2014, murder rates have fallen from 5.6 to 4.2 (preliminary estimates) per 100,000. This represents a 25% drop in the murder rate at the same time that the percentage of the adult population with permits soared by 178%. Overall violent crime also fell by 25 percent over that period of time.

David Nielsen
David Nielsen

Since anti gun fairies never have anything but hyperbole ad hominem and lies why should anyone sane listen to your NWO rants and fantasies sweety

USMC2841
USMC2841

@dawg fan Another fact...


Georgia Weapons Permit holder, which are the only ones allowed to carry in this bill, are responsible for fewer violent crimes than Law Enforcement. 

An American Patriot
An American Patriot

@dawg fan Dawg fan. even you've probably heard this....."I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it"  A lot of us stupid, redneck, gun toting morons think like this.  I am "reality", I'm sitting here at my desk typing this and I'm absolutely sane, maybe saner than you with your rants about people with guns not being interested in facts.  I challenge you to prove that........you can't.

sauteedude
sauteedude

Im so glad the AJC is a champion of sharing the whole story instead of just being an agenda pushing, one sided, pathetic joke of "journalism" if you could ever call it that again.

dawg fan
dawg fan


@sauteedude  What part of the word "opinion" does your infantile joke of a brain not understand?  Serious question. 


sauteedude
sauteedude

@dawg fan Obviously my brain understands the fact that "opinions" by definition have more than just one side...read a book not a sports magazine you illiterate fool it'll expand your understanding of the English language

Gunluvr
Gunluvr

Well, you're right about stopping protests and riots. Atlanta hasn't had a major riot since 1992 and probably won't because rioting troublemakers know they'll be shot, simple and straightforward. And Deal will sign it this time because his wife is still on him about pushing the opportunity school district scheme that nobody wants or cares about.

jackburton
jackburton

We know absolutely one thing for certain. When the social deviant has targeted you and your family Downey here is not going to be there to throw her body between you and the danger that exists. She is more than willing to sacrifice your life for her beliefs. 


She believes law abiding citizens having firearms is a bad idea. So does the social deviant destroying the lives of innocent people


According to her desires, innocent people should have be forced to surrender instead of facing down the social deviant. Got that?


If you are minding your own business and are assaulted or threatened by a violent criminal she and the people-control, anti-freedom crowd wants the onus to be on you to surrender, flee, retreat, have your body violated, or even die -- anything EXCEPT stand your ground with a firearm.


She believes it's better for society for a woman to be raped and strangled with her own pantyhose around her neck than for her to stand over the dead body of her would-be attacker with a smoking gun in her hand.


How ethically and intellectually backwards can these folks be to adopt such an indefensible position? The duty and perfect right of law-abiding citizens is to defend themselves with deadly force if need be against criminals. That is the essence of the disagreement between the opposing sides on gun control.


Which side better protects you and your family from those social deviants? 

dawg fan
dawg fan

@jackburton  Please provide an example of when a stupid redneck with a gun has protected anyone from a social deviant.  Let's start there and then I might stop laughing at you. 

USMC2841
USMC2841

@dawg fan @jackburton Pearl Mississippi.  Next.


The school's assistant principal, Joel Myrick, retrieved a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol from his truck and, spotting Woodham attempting to flee the parking lot after the shooting, shouted for him to stop. Realizing what Woodham was doing, another student used his own vehicle to block Woodham's path, at which point Woodham attempted to get around the obstruction by driving his mother's car onto a grass verge, only to end up getting stuck in the grass. Seizing his opportunity, Myrick ordered Woodham out of the car at gunpoint and detained him until police arrived at the scene.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@jackburton Having spent many years covering families and children, I would like to suggest that you research women injured or killed by guns and see how often it happens. 

Here's some info to start you off: 

Guns increase the probability of death in incidents of domestic violence.

Firearms were used to kill more than two-thirds of spouse and ex-spouse homicide victims between 1990 and 2005.

Domestic violence assaults involving a firearm are 12 times more likely to result in death than those involving other weapons or bodily force.


Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a firearm.


A recent survey of female domestic violence shelter residents in California found that more than one third (36.7%) reported having been threatened or harmed with a firearm.


In nearly two thirds (64.5%) of the households that contained a firearm, the intimate partner had used the firearm against the victim, usually threatening to shoot or kill the victim.6


Laws that prohibit the purchase of a firearm by a person subject to a domestic violence restraining order are associated with a reduction in the number of intimate partner homicides.


Between 1990 and 2005, individuals killed by current dating partners made up almost half of all spouse and current dating partner homicides.

One final comment: When I was a young reporter covering crime, I was stunned how many stories I covered about family members shooting one another or two guys getting in a fight in a parking lot over a parking space taking shots at each other. I will never forget what the local police chief told me:


"People who have guns will use them. And a lot of times, they will use them when they did not need to and should not have. Put a gun in someone's bedside table or front hall, and every family argument gets a lot more dangerous."


This week, the AJC had a story about a father and son who shot each other over who was going to walk the dog. 




TexasTopCat
TexasTopCat

@MaureenDowney @jackburton

If the victim is armed and trained, the attacker is much less likely to attack and much less likely to not be STOPPED by the use of deadly force.

The attackers in this world will always have the advantage of picking the time, picking the place and having all of the weapons in advance.

You are responsibile for your protection, no one else has that duty or responsibility.

An American Patriot
An American Patriot

@MaureenDowney @jackburton Hi Maureen, maybe instead of using percentages to get your point across, you could use actual figures........64.5% of how many people?  No one knows, so you can throw that high percentage out there and create the impression that a lot of people are being killed by a gun, when that might not be the fact at all. If you want someone to believe these statistics, use the real numbers.  I think you know my position on firearms......they are our best protection against those wishing to harm us or our family and will complement the military in the event of an armed invasion or insurrection. The second amendment is sacred in keeping our country safe.  

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

 "University of North Georgia professor Matthew Boedy, who has emerged the most research-driven voice against guns on campus,...."

Translation:  Boedy knows how to Google.  Gotta love the AJC.

------------------------------

This is what, about the twentieth time Maureen has trotted out this guy with his same tired  opinion that Maureen calls"research"?  Hey, the guy has a Masters degree in FICTION.  (No, really).  Here's an idea, Maureen should contact one of the bills sponsors and/or a gun rights advocacy group and ask them to contribute an article.

independentiii
independentiii

It is silly to think using real facts to refute the arguments supporting the 'campus carry' bill is going to change the minds of the supporters.  They are too stupid to see the absurdity of this proposed legislation and will continue to believe the NRA over any true facts you might put out there.

Hopefully Gov Deal will have better judgement, again.

David Nielsen
David Nielsen

The faux fantasies are facts only to komrades and liars addicted to illicit narcotic laced kook-aid, end of story

#Constitutionalist
#Constitutionalist

There's an excellent reason, Mr. Governor, to ignore the above and sign the Campus Carry Bill: campus carry doesn't lead to more campus shootings. 

If it did, Boedy would have opened with statistics convincingly demonstrating campus homicides are more prevalent in the nine states already allowing campus carry.

He didn't, because it's just not true.