Before the “opt-in” clause of the campus carry bill was deemed unconstitutional on Jan. 23., Georgia State professors expressed their concerns about the possibility of college presidents being given the power to allow concealed weapons on campus.
“I think it says a lot about the legislature’s attitude toward education. Their main order of business is not anything that funds, programs, assists students, or facilitates research, but rather enables people on college campuses to carry weapons,” Dr. Jonathan Herman from the Religious Studies Department at Georgia State said.
The argument against guns on campus is not limited to Georgia State. The University of Toledo in Ohio conducted a study in 2013 that focused on faculty opinions toward this topic.
“Nine out of 10 faculty members think that it’s a very bad idea to have concealed weapons carried on campus, and they feel that it would not make it a safer environment,” co-author James H. Price said in an interview with The Columbus Dispatch.
Visiting professor Sally Allen agreed that this kind of law would only complicate matters on campus.
“I do not support the campus carry law. I simply think this does not make sense from a risk/reward standpoint, and as student populations continue to swell, here at GSU and at colleges statewide, the process of effectively screening gun carriers would become more and more untenable,” Allen said.
Professor Galen Olmsted, an adjunct professor for Georgia State’s Ernest G. Welch College of Art and Design does not consider the idea of guns on campus a reasonable one.
“My position on guns being legal on campus: an enthusiastic no. Hell no,” Olmsted said. “All our common sense justifications, self-defense being an example par excellence, for copious amounts of firearms in American households, campuses, etc., crumble when confronted with statistical fact.”
One Georgia State professor did more than just share his opinion on this piece of legislation.
Dr. Stephen Clay Anthony, a political science professor, is a member of the American Association of University Professors.
Along with the AAUP, Dr. Anthony has worked to keep the exception of college campuses in the bill.
“Everything that could be said has been said, testified and given in a committee and within the debates on the bill last year. They have all the information. It’s just going to be a matter of whether they hear what we’ve said or ignore us,” he said. “We are hopeful that a compromise will get worked out.”
Despite the fact that some members of Georgia’s legislature fought for the provision, it remains illegal for Georgia State students and faculty members to possess concealed weapons on campus.