As colleges figure out how to accommodate guns, parents continue to worry

Multiple protests and parent concerns were not enough to persuade the governor to veto campus carry. TAYLOR.CARPENTER/AJC

In signing the campus carry bill over the objections of the Board of Regents, university faculty and students who resoundingly opposed the measure in polls, Gov. Nathan Deal has created a stressful situation for colleges required to accept guns in their midst by July 1.

The new law allows anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry firearms on public campuses except in dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses, buildings used for athletic events, child care centers, areas where high school students attend class, offices or rooms used for disciplinary hearings, and faculty academic offices.

The bill is silent on how universities are expected to handle challenges, including gun storage. While students can bring their guns to class, student centers and dining halls, they can’t bring them to their dorms so where do they store them at night? Also, students can’t bring weapns to class attended by high school students taking college classes through the state’s Move on When Ready program. Who keeps track of which classes among the hundreds offered each day may have a high school student?

As the AJC reported:

The law, which takes effect July 1, excludes on-campus preschools, faculty or administrative offices, disciplinary hearings and areas where high schoolers take college classes. Also off-limits to concealed weapons are dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses and buildings used for athletic events.

Lawmakers provided no instructions on how campuses should implement the law, unlike the approach Texas lawmakers used last year, which gave campuses latitude on policies, as long as they don’t effectively prohibit people from carrying.

Georgia joins nine other states that allow concealed weapons to be carried on campuses. Permit-holders must be at least 21.

Violations by “weapons carry license holders” are misdemeanors, punishable by $25 fines and no jail time.

I continue to hear from worried parents, among them south Georgia native Trela Haralson.  Here is why she is concerned.

By Trela Haralson

As the parent of a rising ninth grader who is just starting to consider long-term education plans, my reaction to the signing of the campus carry law by the governor was one shared by many Georgia parents. I was concerned about safety.

As a graduate of the University System of Georgia, I have other concerns, as well.  I grew up in Ashburn, a small town in south Georgia, and my parents held blue-collar jobs. As a high school senior with good grades and a good SAT score, I considered several colleges and universities. My final choice was between a small private university in metro Atlanta and Valdosta State College. Yes, it was a college back then. I’m telling my age.

Simply put, my family could not afford the private university, even with scholarships. Through the Valdosta State College Foundation Scholarship, I was able to attend four years at VSC tuition free, and graduate with a bachelor’s degree and not one cent of student loan debt.  Upon graduation, I enrolled at the University of Georgia to study social work. A graduate assistantship allowed me to complete my master’s in social work without student loan debt.

Because of my wonderful experiences, I am fiercely loyal to the University System of Georgia. I am not wealthy, so I could never be considered a “major donor.” But when students call me asking me to give to UGA or VSU, they can always count on a “yes” from me.

My niece is a high school student who is starting to look at colleges. I have encouraged her to look at the University System of Georgia. My 8th grader has already heard me sing the praises of Georgia’s public colleges and universities. In fact, I took him and a friend to visit Georgia State University during their spring break because I wanted them to imagine what it would be like to attend there.

I truly believe the quality of education I received in Georgia’s public higher education is every bit as good as any education I could have received at any private school in this state. I am proud to say Georgia can offer a world-class education to promising students, even if they aren’t rich. Part of the benefit of attending a public college or university is the opportunity to attend classes and live in communities with students from many different geographic, ethnic, cultural and financial backgrounds.

A well-rounded education also requires that students and faculty with many different points of view come together and discuss issues and ideas. The affordability of public schools fosters this diversity of background and points of view.

The Board of Regents opposed the campus carry legislation. Campus police opposed it. I feel the University System of Georgia has been betrayed by the Georgia Legislature and the governor. With the new rules allowing guns on campus, many parents will re-consider sending their children to Georgia’s public colleges and universities.

Students who don’t feel comfortable sitting in a classroom with a loaded gun will look elsewhere. Professors and other instructors who present provocative ideas or who have extremely rigorous grading standards may feel safer in classrooms where students are not armed. While many families, students and instructors who favor campus carry will continue to choose Georgia’s public schools, those who oppose it will choose private schools that don’t allow firearms or look outside the state. This hurts the quality of higher education throughout all schools, public and private. The end result will be greater polarization and narrowing points of view.

Private, gun-free schools will have greater concentrations of “liberal, elite” students, researchers and instructors, who oppose campus carry and have the means or credentials to choose schools that prohibit it.  Georgia’s public colleges and universities will lose the diversity of ideas and backgrounds those students, researchers and instructors would have bought with them. The world-class education offered by the University System of Georgia will be inevitably eroded. That is deeply disappointing to me.

 

 

Reader Comments 1

48 comments
RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

Dawg fan stays on these blogs an awfully lot- the trash truck he rides must have a late-shift route.


Poser, please change your screen name.

SouthernHope5
SouthernHope5

As a parent with students at Ga Tech, i'm sick over it.  The students/parents/campus police spoke out forcibly against this bill.  Nobody wants this except legislators looking for NRA money and a handful of voters in gerrymandered districts who somehow imagine that people like them carrying guns are going to make us safer.  Please do us a favor...we do not need your help. 

JK1951
JK1951

I still don't see any evidence that more people are going to carry because of this law. The crazies are already armed. I'm sure it's a bad idea to bring a firearm to school much less fire it but I can see where a female night student might want to carry when going back to her car on an Atlanta campus. I'm not going to tell her she can't or that her concern is not warranted.

Wilfred Diaz
Wilfred Diaz

It kills in the wrong hands y'all morons,so good responsible citizen of the would and will say YES TO GUNS!!!!

MargaretHolt
MargaretHolt

Ms. Downey,

I am a retired professor at the University of Georgia.  I cannot encourage potential new faculty to pursue jobs here nor students to seek enrollment.  This was a most unfortunate signing by the Governor.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

I'm a retired professor from one of the USG universities that is located in an urban area with an open campus. Classroom buildings are located next to commercial ones. Easy to come in off the street into a classroom or to run out of a classroom onto the street. This new law would make me fearful if I were still teaching, for I learned during my 30+ years as a professor how many undergraduates are mentally disturbed. Prone to aggressive anger, furious they've gotten low grades or are challenged in class by other students or the teacher, belligerent when disciplined in class especially by a female professor (which I was)...I've seen it all.

Oh, they have to be 21 to have a gun permit--whoop-te-do. If they're disturbed then they won't care about permit laws for a concealed carry.

UGAGuy
UGAGuy

@OriginalProf You just contradicted yourself in your post.  The new law makes you nervous but if they're disturbed they don't care about the law.  If you realize that making something illegal doesn't stop the act from occurring, why are you nervous about the new law?

Astropig
Astropig

@UGAGuy @OriginalProf


UGA, are you sure that you wouldn't like to take a crack at "professoring"? It seems that you'd be able to make better arguments than the ones that do it for a living!


You get a "Platinum Piggie" award for that one.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@UGAGuy @OriginalProf 

You're right about my logical error here....although I was referring to the narrow law about gun permits only given to those who are 21. And when I did teach (as I said I'm retired), it never occurred to me to worry about my students carrying guns, no matter how unbalanced. 

But with the new law, everyone in the class (and faculty in their offices) will know that concealed guns may be present... at least, for junior-senior and graduate classes. This will change the nature of the classes and of education generally, I guarantee it.

Falcaints
Falcaints

So explain to me the mentality that says " I have to be armed because my life is in constant danger"?  I'm 55, have been in some less than reputable places and never once feared for my safety.

RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

@Falcaints You don't have to carry but SCOTUS has agreed that you have a RIGHT to-

Chris Mashburn
Chris Mashburn

do you know how many states already have had this law for decades?

Astropig
Astropig

Storage?


Gun lockers have been available at county jails and other secure facilities where guns are not allowed for decades.They're like lockable bike racks for personal weapons.This is just another excuse to try to throw sand in the gears of this act.


This is now the law,from Wildwood to St. Simons. The BOR takes public money,so they have to either get on board or...They'll get on board anyway,under less pleasant circumstances.


There are a lot of things that happen on campus that maybe some people don't agree with.But the law allows them,so we have to swallow hard and accept it. Same here. The law's the law,so they may as well just accept that real "diversity" on campus,circa 2017, includes gun owners.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@Astropig  Sure a lot of things happen that people don't agree with but they usually don't involve bullets and deadly weapons.  The underlying premise of everything you gun nuts say is that we're just supposed to trust you.  I don't know you so I don't trust you.  You can have your guns but keep them at home and away from me.  Why should I have to be subjected to your guns?  The 1st amendment doesn't give me the right to scream my opinions into your ear so why are we being forced to accept your guns?  This is BIG GOVERNMENT.  As big as it gets. 

Astropig
Astropig

@dawg fan @Astropig


Your problem is not with me.Your problem is with the constitution,specifically,the 2nd amendment.You can always try to get that repealed.It may be somewhat difficult,however.

Astropig
Astropig

@JakeJohnson @Astropig


Then get it repealed.Since the people opposing this keep nominating fringe candidates for the legislature and the governors office,it's not likely,but try anyway.

dawg fan
dawg fan

This isn't about the 2nd amendment. If it were there would be no restrictions on guns in courthouses, etc. This is about you forcing your gun toting lifestyle on everyone else.

dawg fan
dawg fan

Huh?. The vast majority of Georgians oppose this bill based on every single poll I've seen. You rednecks keep acting like you are a majority every time you do something stupid.

You're just flat out delusional.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@dawg fan 

As Astropig has posted before, he also lives in Tennessee which isn't affected by this law.

Astropig
Astropig

@dawg fan


Yawn.When we start governing the state with polls,I'll pay attention.Move on already.This battle is over.

Astropig
Astropig

@OriginalProf @dawg fan


"As Astropig has posted before, he also lives in Tennessee which isn't affected by this law. "


Sort of. In Tennessee,we have a form of campus carry.Full time faculty and certain staff can carry. Smart ones do. Dumb ones get tenure.


In Florida (another home),students can store guns in their car.They can carry non-lethal (stun guns) protection on campus.


With passage of this law,Georgia is just catching up to the national trend toward fighting back against the criminal element that preys on students.

RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

@dawg fan More about you forcing your irrational fear of guns and delusional thing that criminals abide by the law on the rest of us.


And I repeat, UGA wants its screen name back-

Falcaints
Falcaints

There will be no way to keep the guns out of the non-designated places and with such a small fine it doesn't matter anyway.

Tom Green
Tom Green

Alcohol, undeveloped frontal lobes, and guns...what could possibly go wrong?

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

{{{{ yawn }}}}


More anti-gun hysteria from the AJC.   Jesus H. Christ, what a bunch of drama queens......


Simply put, the responsibility to abide by the laws of GA is on the individual.  They should know when and where they are allowed to carry.    Also, Maureen misses the point about it being a "Concealed Carry" permit.  As in, you will never know if I am carrying or not.


Storage?  Another non-issue.  If I am going to the courthouse, I know that I cannot carry inside the courthouse so I leave my weapon locked in the car - or I leave it at home.  The responsibility resides with the permit holder.


Classes with high school students?  You have to be 21 or older to obtain a carry permit which typically means the individual is at least a Junior or Senior level student.  High school students in the Move On program will be in early Freshman classes.  


My guess?  In a couple of years, no one will remember what all the fuss was about.  Calm down, snowflakes.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@Lee_CPA2  Oh that makes me feel so much better.  Thanks.  So when someone I don't know and have never met is walking around with a concealed deadly weapon I will just assume he is a responsible law abiding citizen because you said so.  We should just trust everyone and all hold hands and sing kumbaya.  Guns are fun.  Why all the "hysteria?"  It's not like raging lunatics use them to kill people on a daily basis or anything. You=STUPID.   

UGAGuy
UGAGuy

@dawg fan I've never understood the hysteria involving "legal" gun owners.  You walk around society every day with people who are armed with illegal guns.  Those are the ones most likely to use the weapon against you.  Yet, it is the legal ones that you get up in arms about.

dawg fan
dawg fan

I've never understood why stupid rednecks have to manufacture straw man arguments to make a point. Where did I say I have no problem with illegal gun ownership? I'm pretty sure I didn't say that.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@UGAGuy @dawg fan 

I guess when you were at UGA you were fortunate enough to take uncontroversial classes with calm and pleasant students. Everyone got Bs or As, and the professors agreed with whatever their students said. No provocations among these mature late adolescents. 

UGAGuy
UGAGuy

@dawg fan I can assure you that I'm far from stupid or a redneck.  You may view my point as a straw man argument but it is a valid statement.  People are getting upset about legally owned guns when they are statistically much less likely to be used for criminal activity.  The people likely to use their guns in such a setting are those that don't care whether it is legal or illegal.  


Also, resorting to an ad hominem attack is a logical fallacy that does nothing to advance your position.

Astropig
Astropig

@UGAGuy @dawg fan


"Also, resorting to an ad hominem attack is a logical fallacy that does nothing to advance your position"


That's been the sum and substance of the anti-campus carry commentariat since this became an issue.They have made themselves look hysterical and irrational with their immature attacks on people of good will that happen to have a different point of view.


And not one of the ones that I have seen have addressed the fact that the right to keep and bear arms is a constitutional right.Not a single one. It's all been kindergarten-level name calling.

redweather
redweather

@Lee_CPA2 Many 21 year old students attending our two year and four year colleges are not juniors and seniors.

Annette Laing
Annette Laing

I'm not worried. I'm furious. Georgia's anti-intellectualism is front and center here, in this massive obscene gesture to its universities and especially its faculty.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

". . . those who oppose it will choose private schools that don’t allow firearms or look outside the state."

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

I agree wholeheartedly with the assessment above. Moreover, students and professors may be unnecessarily wounded, or worse , as a result of this poorly considered decision, no doubt influenced by the NRA.

Astropig
Astropig

@MaryElizabethSings


". . . those who oppose it will choose private schools that don’t allow firearms or look outside the state."


I'm sure that there are probably a half-dozen or so liberals in the state that are not  shameless hypocrites and will do that, so  I agree with you here.The rest,well...let's just say that their attitudes on this will"evolve" to "conform with reality".


The ones that do leave the state may end up paying out o' state tuition somewhere else and undocumented students in the next chair get the in-state rate.How's that for irony?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Also, Astropig, read these words of Thomas Jefferson taken from his book of essay's entitled, "Notes on the State of Virginia":


"I know. . . that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. . . .As. . . new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors. . . .Each generation. . . has. . .a right to choose for itself the form of government it believes most promotive of its own happiness. . . .a solemn opportunity of doing this every nineteen or twenty years should be provided by the constitution."

Starik
Starik

Perhaps the AJC will provide data for states that have concealed weapons on campus already. Not quotes from advocates for or against, but facts. Have incidents, good or bad occurred in other states? What are the provisions of their laws?

redweather
redweather

@Starik The FBI issued a report based on active shooter incidents from 2000-2013.  Although these incidents were not confined to ones occurring on college campuses, the data is illustrative.  Among other findings, in only 3.1% percent of cases did "armed individuals who were not law enforcement personnel exchanged gunfire with the shooters." The report also notes that unarmed citizens were four times as likely "to safely and successfully restrain[] the shooter."  


I assume the argument will be made that if guns had been allowed in more places where active shooter incidents occurred, more armed civilians would have stepped forward to resolve the situation.  But that also assumes armed civilians would be willing to risk false identification by law enforcement as an active shooter themselves.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@MaureenDowney @Starik

The John Hopkins BLOOMBERG School of Public Health.  Yes, the same anti-gun Michael Bloomberg.  You really think John Hopkins is going to publish anything that contradicts one of their main benefactors?


ROFLMAO

Trackbacks

  1. […] Writing in the AJC Get Schooled blog, one mother says, “Students who don’t feel comfortable sitting in a classroom with a loaded gun will look elsewhere. Professors and other instructors who present provocative ideas or who have extremely rigorous grading standards may feel safer in classrooms where students are not armed. While many families, students and instructors who favor campus carry will continue to choose Georgia’s public schools, those who oppose it will choose private schools that don’t allow firearms or look outside the state.” […]