By Emma Nortje
Georgia’s House of Representatives recently approved the Campus Safety Act which will allow guns to be carried on public college and university campuses.
The bill states that any students and non-students 21 years or older who have a carrying permit will be allowed to have their guns concealed on their person on any of Georgia’s public campuses. Exceptions to this include dorms, fraternity and sorority houses, and athletic facilities.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rick Jasperse, advocated for the passing of the law by stating that he believed that students should be allowed to actively use their constitutional right to defend themselves. Some students, like junior nursing major Rachel Lawrence, support the law for the same reason.
“I have my carrying permit and I wouldn’t mind carrying it [her gun] to school just for my safety. I mean… if an event occurs and I need to protect myself, I’ll have the means of doing that,” Lawrence said.
Opposition to the bill include concerns of guns being in the hands of the wrong people.
“You don’t want to be the next victim of a shoot out. You can’t really judge or really have an accurate vision of which one [gun holder] is going to shoot somebody. You just never know,” said Vernon Andrews, Milledgeville resident.
Some students also believe that allowing guns on campus would create an uneasy feeling on college and university campuses.
“I’m uncomfortable with the idea of walking into a classroom and seeing a fellow peer with a gun on his or her hip,” said Jonathan Mangrum, freshman Political Science and Liberal Studies major.
The House passed the bill by a vote of 113-59 after only an hour and a half of debate. It was then handed over to the Senate to be debated and voted on.
The Student Government Association of Georgia College recently sent an email containing a survey on the pending legislation, inviting and all students to give their opinion on the matter. Once completing the survey, students are given information on how to contact with state representatives and senators so that they may share their opinion on the matter and potentially influence the Senate’s discussion and vote.