Recent protests raise questions regarding on-campus gun safety

Campus carry and Georgia State’s preparedness for possible incidents are still a main concern for students. Photo by Julieann Tran | The Signal

After the Parkland shooting this past February, House Bill 280 (HB280), or “Campus Carry,” and Georgia State’s preparedness in the event of a shooting have once again caused concern among the student body.
“I have definitely seen a shift in people’s willingness to openly discuss their own views and openly oppose other people’s views,” Georgia State public policy student Audrey Maloof said. “[Gun violence] shouldn’t be impacting our educational environment. That bothers me.”
In 2017, Georgia State held Campus Carry information sessions led by University Attorney Kerry Heyward and Georgia State Police Chief Joseph Spillane on June 23 and July 12 at the Atlanta campus and Clarkston campus, tackling what the law means and what circumstances are and aren’t OK.
“If I have my jacket open, I’m still carrying concealed,” Spillane said. “If I stretch and you can see my gun a little bit, it’s still concealed. If I take my jacket off and I hang it on a chair, it’s no longer concealed.”
Given the availability of the information online on info sessions and the Georgia State Police Department’s active presence on campus, Spillane said he felt the student body has been equipped with enough information regarding the law.
“Our purpose was to talk about what was affected by the law, so we used the same powerpoint and answered various questions each time,” Spillane said. “If people wanted to hear about Campus Carry, there were plenty of opportunities,” Spillane said.
No further Campus Carry information sessions were scheduled in the past school year. However, GSUPD plans to include a section on Campus Carry during new student orientation beginning around the fall 2018 semester using the same information from the initial sessions.
But some students are growing more uncomfortable under the law, especially after the latest high school shooting.
“After the Parkland shooting and seeing young people get involved across the country, my friend Latisha [Hamilton] and I thought about what we can do to impact our own community,” public policy major Audrey Maloof said. “We don’t want to wait until something tragic happens to us here in Georgia. We want to be proactive not reactive.”
While Maloof and others stand in opposition to Campus Carry after the Parkland shooting, some students, such as Georgia State senior and gun owner Jasmine Davis, view the tragedy as why Campus Carry is necessary.
“If those students had a gun, they would have something to defend themselves with and survive what happened,” Davis said.
While Davis does not have a concealed weapons permit, she has considered getting one before.
“Due to the fact that I do [own] a gun, if a shooter came close to me and I have my gun on me, why not use it? Because it would be in self-defense as well as to save other people’s lives.”