Thursday, January 10, 2013

Georgia Lawmaker Pushes For Concealed Carry On Campus, Despite Objections From Security And Law Enforcement

A Republican lawmaker in the state of Georgia is pushing for a bill that would allow students to carry concealed firearms on college campuses, despite the reservations of Georgia law enforcement and school security.

Kicking off the newly-elected state assembly, state Rep. Charles Gregory (R) introduced four piece of legislation that would weaken gun laws in the state. Among them is a provision that would allow any student with a permit to carry a concealed weapon on campus. But just last month, a similar bill died in committee after university officials and security expressed concerns about whether it would actually quell any violence:

Jasper Cooke, the director of the Department of Public Safety at Augusta State University and the chief of Campus Police, agreed.

“Especially with our colleges across the country, we have enough issues with alcohol and drugs and legitimate prescription medicines without throwing a bunch of guns in the middle of it,” Cooke said. “You see the brawls and the fights that break out at big sporting events and this, that or the other. Well, think if half those folks were carrying weapons.”

Georgia is not alone in considering repealing restrictions on guns on campuses. The state of Indiana is mulling a similar measure as a way to protect against gun violence on campuses, particularly the kind of mass shooting events like that at Virginia Tech or, most recently, the December 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

According to the Brady campaign, “Eighty-six percent of campus police chiefs disagree or strongly disagree that allowing students to carry concealed weapons on campus would prevent some or all campus killings.” But despite the general consensus among law enforcement, the gun lobby is engaged in a serious effort to put guns on school grounds.

The claim that adding more guns decreases violence is unfounded. College campuses are actually among the safest communities in the country — much safer, even, than the areas surrounding them. Ninety three percent of the violence perpetrated against students happens off campus. At the same time, the risks of keeping guns in the home translate to campuses, too. Whether by homicide or suicide, people in a home — or, indeed, a dorm — with a firearm, are more likely to be killed by gunshot wound than in a home without a gun.

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