Sign of the times in Georgia: No flipflops in UGA labs, but Glocks allowed

A poster on Reddit says this sign was on the door to a lab at the University of Georgia. (Reddit)

Georgia rose to the front page of Reddit a few days ago over the state’s campus carry law that went into effect on July 1. “Madbiologist,” a poster to the mega online discussion site, shared the above photo, saying it was outside of a University of Georgia lab.

I asked UGA about the sign, but haven’t heard back.  Side note: UGA didn’t mention the campus carry law at the freshman orientation I attended last month, even in the presentation by the UGA police chief. None of the official speakers brought up the law over the two-day orientation. The issue, however, was raised by parents during a Q&A with current UGA students about life on campus.

While the law permits guns in classrooms and labs, they are still outlawed in dorms. Anxious parents asked how UGA would make sure guns are kept out of dorms. A UGA official took that question, saying dorms were off-limits and conceal carry permit holders would be informed of that. But parents pressed her, asking if there were plans for metal detectors to ensure guns were not carried into dorms.  Her answer:  “No.”

The photo drew enough interest and user votes to win Reddit’s front page, which is highly coveted space and not easily earned given how many competing posts appear each day on the social platform. Reddit draws 250 million users per month and is the seventh largest website in the country.

I assume the sign reflects a clever prankster. But the information is likely correct. Many chemistry labs ban open-toe shoes as a danger, but they can’t forbid guns now under Georgia law.

Among the more than 200 comments by Redditors about the purported UGA sign:

•Well this is America and Georgia to boot so AR-15’s?

•Georgia has some of the most lenient gun laws in the country.

•Wait….there are schools in Georgia?

•There’s Georgia Tech and… and… wait a sec it’ll come to me.

•As a professor, I would seriously consider leaving a university that introduced a conceal and carry policy like Georgia or Texas. I’d quit teaching and find some other line of work. I’m a hunter so I’m not opposed to guns, but why the f*** would I teach in a classroom where stressed out college students are told carrying a deadly weapon is kosher?

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51 comments
Vanishing Mediator2
Vanishing Mediator2

Professors whine about this because they have no respect for students who pay a fortune to go to college or grad school.  They preach politics in class and are generally liberal, and often misgrade students who espouse conservative views.  They should be intimidated.

Brannon Huntz
Brannon Huntz

Ask yourself this. How many people do you know who've been shot versus how many people who have stubbed a toe in flip flops? I see no reason for the controversy.

Taryn Chilivis Bowman
Taryn Chilivis Bowman

Girls just wanna have guns! Got my first one last week. Very exciting day. Have gun. Will carry. But, what does that have to do with not wearing flip flops?! \U0001f923\U0001f923\U0001f923 I feel some sort of SAT question formulating here. Guns are to flip flops...

Harvey Davis
Harvey Davis

So when acid is spilled in the lab it eats through your shoe not your flesh DUH

Kerin Walsh
Kerin Walsh

Oh I'm not disagreeing that that is a sound rule for a lab...it's just humorous out of context: no flip flops allowed but guns are..for safety...

Tom Tidwell
Tom Tidwell

Does the shoe leather also stop the lead from the bullet passing into your foot

Andrew12355124
Andrew12355124

Rules in place to protect people from spills have what to do with guns?

Astropig
Astropig

@An American Patriot


Agree.The fact that the author has never once conceded that this is an enumerated right has made this an easy argument to win.The general public may have an abstract understanding of laws,but they are pretty passionate about defending what they understand to be their rights.

weetamoe
weetamoe

Can't defend yourself with a flip-flop. Or as some great patriot or civil rights leader somewhere must have said: "Flip-flops are no defense."

Astropig
Astropig

@weetamoe


Thanks. Needed a laugh.This a serious subject,but a little levity never hurts.

Astropig
Astropig

@alt.AJC @Astropig


Well, on this issue, I believe that a very important thing is going to happen-nothing.


The passage of this law will not affect the status quo of gun crime one iota.Legally licensed owners will still go to great lengths to obey our laws and criminals will still just ignore them.After a reasonable period of time has passed, we'll find that things are pretty much as they were before July 1st. 


Again, this was never really about guns per se. Both sides of this argument readily concede that guns have been carried on campus illegally by otherwise law-abiding students and staff for a long time.This was about a minority imposing their personal preferences on a majority (expressed at the ballot box) and attempting to abridge that majority's rights.The vitriol is acidic because that minority failed.It is as simple as that.

Bob Doty
Bob Doty

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2814691 During President Obama’s administration, the number of concealed handgun permits has soared to over 14.5 million – a 215% increase since 2007. Among the findings of our report: ■ The increase in the number of concealed handgun permits last year set another record, increasing by 1.73 million. That is slightly greater than previous record of 1.69 million set the last year. ■ 6.06% of the total adult population has a permit. ■ In ten states, more than 10% of adults have concealed handgun permits. Indiana has the highest rate — 15%. South Dakota is close behind with 14.7%. ■ Florida, Pennsylvania, and Texas each have over a million residents who are active permit holders. ■ In another 11 states, a permit is no longer required to carry in all or virtually all of the state. Thus the growth in permits does not provide a full picture of the overall increase in concealed carry. ■ Between 2012 and 2016, in states that provide data by gender, the number of women with permits has increased twice as quickly as the number of men with permits. ■ Some evidence suggests that permit-holding is increasing about 75% more quickly among minorities than among whites. ■ Between 2007 and 2015, murder rates fell from 5.6 to 4.7 (preliminary estimate) per 100,000. This represents a 16% drop. Overall violent crime fell by 18 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of adults with permits has soared by 190%.

Nita Shinn
Nita Shinn

Flip flops in a lab is a safety hazard. Spill acid on your bare feet. Trip over your flops and spill acid on someone else

Tcope
Tcope

Guns do not just "go off"

Kristy Avera
Kristy Avera

Or gun goes off and ignites some chemicals . . .

Nita Shinn
Nita Shinn

And chemicals land on your unprotected skin...

Michael McIntyre
Michael McIntyre

Also, no smoking anywhere on campus because, of course, it's dangerous to people's health.

Astropig
Astropig

July 1,2018-Please do a follow up on how many students on Georgia campuses have been killed or wounded by legally licensed,law abiding CCP holders in the year since the law passed.


Nothing fancy,no tricky numbers-just report the facts about how many students are harmed by legally licensed gun owners,committing a crime.The number at present is zero.


Will you commit to do this? Whether you do or not,the number will exist and be disseminated.

DrProudBlackMan
DrProudBlackMan

@Astropig   Do you have ANY evidence that marijuana has killed ANY college students?

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@Astropig Law prevents you from knowing that as I havd pointed out before.  

Here is what I wrote about this for the editorial board:

When asked whether concealed-carry permit holders are indeed civic paragons who never break the law, GBI spokesman John Bankhead responded with the equivalent of a shrug:

"Nobody knows, " he said. "The state of Georgia doesn't track it. I don't know of any way to prove they are law-abiding or disprove it, because there's no record to say one way or the other."

"A blind person can get a permit in Georgia, since all you have to do is pass a background check, " says Bankhead. "And that person can be arrested the very next week for a felony, convicted of that felony the next month and still have that permit for the next five years."

Before the GOP leadership expands the places in civilized society where guns can be carried secretly, lawmakers ought to find out whether sufficient safeguards are in place to protect the public. The state should be monitoring whether permit holders abide by the law and whether their permits are revoked when they don't.

One relatively easy way to answer that question would be to compare a list of convicted felons against a list of Georgians licensed to carry a concealed weapon. Unfortunately, the General Assembly made that impossible by sealing the list of permit holders from public view, making it impossible to refute claims that all permit holders are law-abiding.

However, we do have some idea what such a comparison might reveal. In 2007, an analysis by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel found more than 1,400 Floridians holding concealed weapon licenses in the first half of 2006 who had previously pleaded guilty or no contest to assaults, burglaries, sexual battery, drug possession, child molestation and murder. Alarmed by that data, Florida legislators quickly made such information off limits to public view.

Unlike most states, Georgia doesn't require firearms training to obtain a concealed-carry permit, which is issued by the local probate court judge after applicants undergo criminal background checks. The license is valid for five years; however, it's supposed to be revoked if the carrier is convicted of a felony.

Under state law, however, there's no way to enforce that provision. When police arrest someone for an offense that makes them ineligible to carry a concealed firearm, officers don't have to alert the county that issued the permit. That's because Georgia has no central database where an officer can check easily on whether a permit exists, says Bankhead.

"All the records are kept within each of the 159 probate courts, " he says. "There is no way to check whether the permit is valid. Police would have to call the court in the county where the permit was issued to find out if it was valid, and that would only be possible during business hours."

As Clarke County probate judge for 12 years, Susan Tate can't recall ever receiving a call from a law enforcement agency in another Georgia county alerting her that an Athens-area permit holder was arrested elsewhere in the state. Tate, who's chair of the Council of Probate Court Judges' firearms license committee and the mental health committee, says that's a serious hole in the state's safety net.

Coweta Probate Judge Mary Cranford also says she has never received a call from outside the county about a concealed-carry permit she issued.

"You are issued a permit for five years, and we don't know what you have done in those five years until you come back to renew, " she says.

DeKalb Associate Probate Judge Arnold Ragas recalled only a single incident of getting such a call. Fulton County called to raise concerns about the concealed-carry permit of a woman convicted of shooting and seriously wounding Fulton County Judge Cynthia Wright in 2003. "But it turns out the woman's permit was set to expire anyway, " Ragas says.

Judges are also concerned that background checks may not catch applicants with mental health problems treated in private mental hospitals or those deemed to be not guilty by reason of insanity or incompetent to stand trial. Nor do checks always identify people who have been determined in guardianship hearings to be unable to handle their own affairs. While different information databases may contain bits of information, they don't necessarily connect to provide a full picture, says state Department of Human Resources official Karen Bailey-Smith.

"When you are getting mental health background checks, are you getting everything?" she asks. "The answer is probably not. We need to look at what is falling through the gaps."

Astropig
Astropig

@MaureenDowney @Astropig


I personally am going to use Google and other modern methods to track this through (sensationalized) press reports and readily available public court records.Police reports are a matter of open public records.This will give lie to the idea that this number cannot be discovered.You could do that too,but its a little harder work than just trying to scare parents with wild suppositions and scare stories.


I'm betting that the number will be zero at the end of the year as it is now.

alt.AJC
alt.AJC

@Astropig 

This blog also promised us that university enrollments would plunge if Georgia recognized Second Amendment rights.

Any surprise that it's likewise been crickets since the bill was signed into law?

Astropig
Astropig

@alt.AJC @Astropig


One thing that is being ignored in this argument:


Students and staff have been carrying guns clandestinely for years.If these people were the threat that they are being made out to be,campuses would be dangerous,unsafe killing zones that no one would ever feel comfortable being a part of.


If anything,making this (formerly covert) action legal and providing some structure to what had been an ad hoc personal defense regime will make everyone safer.Legally licensed permit holders will no doubt stop more violent assault than they will commit,and legal carry holders will not want to put a hard earned new freedom in jeopardy by being careless and irresponsible with their firearms.The gun grabbers won't concede those points,but in the same breath tell us that there is no way to know how many crimes really are committed by same.It's just another political battle that they have lost (because the are always against personal freedoms),but will become increasingly bitter and resentful about in the years to come.


I'll really think long and hard about these self righteous hypocrites position on this issue when they come out in favor of a no-tolerance,immediate expulsion policy on alcohol and marijuana on campus.Those two little amusements kill more college students than all of the guns ever built. 

Astropig
Astropig

@MaureenDowney @Astropig


""A blind person can get a permit in Georgia, since all you have to do is pass a background check, "


Yes, they can, for the same reason that they can vote without having to pay poll taxes or pass literacy tests. These are all rights that people have that cannot be abridged because some other people don't like them.


As for the felony,a felon in possession of a firearm is already another felony and quite illegal (I've gotten dozens of them out of jail),so the expiration date of their carry permit is irrelevant in the case you mentioned.The judge should also know this,but Probate judges don't hear these cases in Georgia.They go to Superior Court.

Astropig
Astropig

@DrProudBlackMan


Other than personally,and watching the news and perusing the police blotter for car accidents that kill students and drug deals gone bad and...Why yes, I do.


Like to "wake and bake",do we? I'm kinda surprised.

EHouse
EHouse

@MaureenDowney @Astropig Ms. Downey,

I'm normally a fan of your reporting.  This reply, however, seems disingenuous.  It took me only a few minutes to search and find that all campuses must report a list of major crimes to the US Dept. of Education.  The numbers of murders was 0 and aggravated assaults of all kinds was in single digits for 2015 for UGA and Ga Tech, just two I selected out of the list for Georgia.  There are 30 USG campuses and 37 or so private colleges in the state.  One of the AJC's trusty reporters should be able to run down all of them and make a go at following up to find out if the perpetrators (when known) had a CCP at the time of the offense.  The data won't be complete, but should be enough to be informative.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@EHouse @MaureenDowney @Astropig I have written about guns and gun deaths for 20 years. I was responding to Astro's contention that conceal carry folks are the most law-abiding Americans of all, a statement that we cannot test because the laws are designed to stop us from doing so. The early evidence on campus carry from states that already have it suggests it increases accidental shootings and gun thefts. But the laws are relatively new so we don't know for sure.

But we know a lot of suicide as it relates to the proximity of a firearm.

Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2010, 38,364 people killed themselves. In more than half of those cases, they used firearms. More people kill themselves with guns than with all other intentional means combined. While guns are not the most common method by which people attempt suicide, they are the most lethal. About 85 percent of suicide attempts with a firearm end in death.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24

Suicide, especially among young people, is often an act born of a moment of desperation. A 2008 study found rates of firearm suicides in states with the highest rates of gun ownership are 3.7 times higher for men and 7.9 times higher for women, compared with states with the lowest gun ownership — though the rates of non-firearm suicides are about the same.

Studies on guns and suicide have reached the same conclusion: A gun in the home raises the suicide risk for everyone in that house. 

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@alt.AJC @Astropig The law went into effect three weeks ago. Any outcomes won't be felt for a while clearly.

And the blog didn't promise enrollment would drop. Dozens of parents came onto the blog and said they didn't want their kids to attend Georgia schools. 

DrProudBlackMan
DrProudBlackMan

@Astropig I'll take that as a no. I did enjoy your deplorable projection though. You people never disappoint me...

alt_AJC
alt_AJC

@MaureenDowney 

Readers will remember the sense of impending doom this blog attempted to impart: mass murder and mayhem, legions of parents pulling their children out of Georgia colleges and an exodus of fearful professors.

None of which has happened.

NorwegianBlue
NorwegianBlue

I know it's hard for liberals to understand, but there's a constitutional amendment protecting the right to bear arms. (Feel free to consult a dictionary on what "bear" and "arms" means.) There is no constitutional amendment protecting the right to wear flip flops. Furthermore, prohibiting flip flops in a chemistry lab makes perfect sense. Ergo, there's nothing to see here.

Astropig
Astropig

@NorwegianBlue


More people are killed by knives on Georgia campuses than legally carried guns.Why doesn't this space advocate banning knives?

Johnny Knight
Johnny Knight

that is because he let too many people know he had a gun and didn't have it in a safe.

Astropig
Astropig

@MaureenDowney


Well, more accurately,"speaking of criminal acts committed by people that have no respect for the law and carried their guns illegally onto KSU's campus" 

WWTJD
WWTJD

@Astropig @MaureenDowney The KSU robbery shows that a good guy with a gun cannot stop two bad guys with their guns already drawn...  another specious argument who think the second amendment rights are unlimited.

Christa Dalton O'Neal
Christa Dalton O'Neal

You still must have a permit. If a student wants to commit violence legally allowing or disallowing guns wont change anything. It just allows law abiding citizens to not be defenseless victims!

Daryl Smith O'Hare
Daryl Smith O'Hare

Do you have to register your permit with the college like you would register your car? No. Do high school students on campus have a way of NOT having a say? No. It's all an "honor " system, and that "good guy" stuff is not clear when two people have guns pointing around. Leave the heroic stuff to movies and let law enforcement do their jobs.

Christa Dalton O'Neal
Christa Dalton O'Neal

I dont want a gun. I personally would never carry one but I support the right to bear arms if one so chooses to legally. The criminals sure are not inhibited by any lousy rules!

Astropig
Astropig

"Do you have to register your permit with the college like you would register your car?"


Very bad  comparison.Driving a car is not a constitutional right. 

Lucas Jensen
Lucas Jensen

Christa Dalton O'Neal none of these supposed good guys with guns with save anyone. And they put others at risk from accidental shootings, at the very least.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

This was a sad and dangerous, as well as a strictly political decision by politicans in conservative Georgia.  Sad. Sad. Sad.  I hope no lives are lost as a result of this bad law.

Astropig
Astropig

@MaryElizabethSings


Well, I think that it's sad and dangerous for mothers to murder their unborn babies and sell their organs for profit,but the SCOTUS says that it's a constitutionally protected right,so I have to live with it.You'll just have to do the same with this.

Page Lassiter
Page Lassiter

I recall seeing a few "hidden" deer rifles in dorm rooms.

Tcope
Tcope

I went to school in Florida in the 80's and kept a rifle in my dorm room for 3 years. A lot of my friends and dorm mates knew it was there. No big deal.

Mary Jo Burkholder Beck
Mary Jo Burkholder Beck

I'm just wondering what kept guns out of dorms before the law? There were not metal detectors before the law. Who knows how many students had undisclosed weapons? And why will stressed out college students be any more likely to shoot up a professor now? Besides the law saying you can't bring a gun what was physically stopping the student from harming the professor before? I just kind of think any stressed out student that wants to harm their professor isn't going to check the law to see if they can bring a gun. Not to mention many of those stressed out students probably had access to guns but still didn't shoot their professor.

Caroline Reid Crow
Caroline Reid Crow

AJC Get Schooled I am pretty sure even the states that do not allow guns on campuses- also don't allow flip flops in the lab. This comparison is stupid. \U0001f633

Teresa Maria del Carmen
Teresa Maria del Carmen

Caroline Reid Crow , no it's not. I attended UCSD (University of California, San Diego) in the 80s and they don't - to this day - forbid flip flops. Wrong!\U0001f44e\U0001f3fc