Editorial 3-12-13


Since the Newtown shooting, the issue of gun control has been a hot button issue for many states. While most states have their sights set on further restrictions on gun use, Georgia has made the first steps to reducing the amount of regulations on gun owners.

Last week the Safe Carry Protection Act, or HB 512, was passed by the Georgia House of Representatives. The proposed law would reduce the amount of restrictions on legal concealed carry permits, and allow registered gun owners with a concealed carry permit to carry a firearm in churches, bars and college campuses.

There is a saying that goes something like “If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.” While as a maxim it may oversimplify the issue at hand, it speaks to the core of the issue. Pro gun control advocates hold the position that a reduction in the number of firearms will result in a net reduction in gun crime, while those who lobby for lesser restrictions argue that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens will act as a crime deterrent.

They are both valid arguments and deserve fair consideration. But how would this law affect Georgia State? The bill still needs to pass the state senate, so its effects have still not reached the public, but now is a crucial time for Georgia State as a community to decide what stance it will take on this controversial topic.

At The Signal, although the idea of more guns on campus concerns us, we believe that a law allowing guns on college campuses would not contribute to a significant increase in the number of firearms on campus.

As it is, the law would not circumvent any standing concealed carry laws. That is to say, it would still be the case that concealed carry permits would be restricted to people aged 21 or older, who would still be a subject to background checks.

If there would be an increase in the number of concealed weapons being carried on campus, it would only be among the population of students who already have their permits. Don’t worry, it won’t mean they will let the freshman carry guns.

As of now, only Utah’s concealed carry laws override the rules of individual institutions. In Utah, state universities must abide by the state’s concealed carry laws, meaning that they are not permitted to ban guns on campus when state law permits citizens to carry weapons on state property.

That means even if HB 512 is passed in to law, it will still be up to us as a university to make a decision about guns on campus. The law would give us the framework to allow guns on campus, but still let us have the option to ban them.

We do not believe an increase of the number of firearms on campus would result in a safer environment, but we understand that the law would only encourage legal gun owners to carry their weapons on campus.

Even though there might be plenty of responsible student gun owners, let’s leave the policing of campus to the GSUPD. Let’s not create an environment of suspicion and readiness, and instead cultivate an environment of learning and development.

If the Georgia Senate passes the law and allows guns on campuses in Georgia, we should stand up and say that we don’t need them here. Leave your guns at home, but don’t forget to bring a pencil.