College gun ban up for review


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I also posted this in the GA site, but this review and decision could set the stage nation wide for improved firearms laws on college campuses.

College gun ban up for review
Jake Armstrong | Friday, August 22, 2008 at 12:30 am

ATLANTA - University campuses are in the sights of state lawmakers looking to expand where Georgians can carry guns.

Carry a gun on or within 1,000 feet of any campus now, and you could be charged with a felony, spend up to 10 years in prison, and pay as much as $10,000 in fines.

But a panel of legislators conducting a wholesale review of Georgia's gun laws soon will solicit opinions on removing or altering the ban. Some students support such a move.

Ross Hevener, 21, a licensed Armstrong Atlantic State University student, said he should be able to carry his .45 caliber Taurus Millennium Pro to protect himself on campus, even if ASSU has its own police force.

"It's not their job to be your bodyguard," said Hevener, who is majoring in information technology.

However, the state Board of Regents supports the gun ban as it stands, and board members would resist changes, spokesman John Millsaps said.

"We would oppose the end of a ban of guns on campuses," he said.

State Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, R-Sharpsburg, who chairs the Senate Firearms Committee, sees nothing wrong with allowing licensed gun owners to visit a college campus while carrying a concealed weapon. Students should be allowed to stow hunting rifles in their cars parked on campus, he said.

Several senators on the committee, both Democrats and Republicans, share that view.

Yet allowing students to carry weapons around campus raises the question of how students, especially those living in dorms, would secure their weapons when they're not carrying the firearms, Seabaugh said.

That is the duty of any responsible gun owner, said John Wharton, campus leader for the University of Georgia chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.

"Of course, irresponsibility can cause problems," Wharton said.

University of Georgia Police Chief Jimmy Williamson isn't taking sides.

"Whatever is on the books, that is what I'll deal with," said Williamson, whose officers made seven arrests for firearms violations under the ban in 2007.

Williamson did not want to speculate about what effect a change in the gun ban might have.

The specter of gun violence on campuses in Virginia and Illinois is never far from the debate over guns on campus. Supporters say if students had been carrying guns, such massacres could have been prevented. Opponents fear the presence of guns in a college environment, where indiscretion and alcohol often abound.

For Wharton and others, it's simply a matter of safety.

"Police simply cannot react fast enough to stop a mad man from taking lives in mass quantity," Wharton said.

At the national level, the victory in the U.S. Supreme Court over a handgun ban in Washington provided little momentum for efforts to remove campus gun bans. In its ruling in June, the court's majority was careful to point out that its ruling was not intended to cast doubt on firearms prohibitions in schools or government buildings.

The reality is that the gun ban does not keep weapons off campus, Seabaugh said.

"There already are firearms on our college campuses," he said. "These are people who have no regard for our law or policy, or are ignorant of what the law is."

Isn't it ironic that, just like the federal constitution that acknowledges the existence of the right to keep and bear arms while federal laws prohibit them on most federal property, that in this state, state law acknowledges that same right, yet does not allow guns on state-owned property?

If these administrators aren't going to allow licensed, law abiding students to protect themselves, shouldn't they at least guarantee their safety while on campus?
If these administrators aren't going to allow licensed, law abiding students to protect themselves, shouldn't they at least guarantee their safety while on campus?
The administrators would probably say, shame on you for taking responsibility for your own safety! I find it odd that they oppose guns on the grounds that colleges are "where indiscretion and alcohol often abound".

I suppose I go to a fairly tame school, but there really aren't that many drunken blowouts at UNF. We're mostly commuter-oriented anyway - we have a huge number of students who come to school, take their MBA classes, and then get out ASAP to go to work.
I've gotta respect that they are at least considering the idea. Its good to see that people are at least gaining a sense that gun bans just aint workin. We've all been carrying here on campuses in Utah and have not had issues yet. Everyone with a CCW just stowes the gun away in a vault or secure case or something when its party time. Your always going to get the idiots and those that screw up, but really at least here, and I know Utah certainly is not a good gauge for the rest of the country, frat parties, drinking parties, parties in general. Everyone who has gone through the leaps to get their Utah CCW seem to in general then have enough responsibility to store them properly and no mix alcohol into the mix. From what I've seen going to or visiting colleges around the country, its not too different. Who knows, all we can do is see what happens. Bust statistically I think armed students works better than a bunch of unarmed students locked in an engineering building becoming range practice for some psycho!!!

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