Georgia voters overwhelmingly oppose ‘campus carry’

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Protesters in Idaho rally against a proposed “campus carry” law in 2014. (AP)

In an AJC poll taken two years ago, Georgia voters were asked a question:

“Do you favor or oppose allowing students to carry guns on college campuses and in college dorms?”

The results were overwhelming. Just 20 percent of those polled supported allowing guns on campus; 78 percent opposed it. Seventy-one percent of Republicans opposed it; 71 percent of voters in North Georgia opposed it; more than 80 percent of those in South Georgia opposed it. Male, female, black, white, Republican, Democrat, urban or rural, old or young: Georgians overwhelming opposed it.

Yet this week, House Republicans introduced legislation that would legalize firearms on campus anyway. House Bill 859 has already been embraced by House Speaker David Ralston, who argues that “Getting a college degree should not mean abdicating your Second Amendment rights.”

Let’s address that claim head on: Ralston is an attorney, and a smart one at that. So he knows — or ought to know — that he is spouting legal nonsense. If carrying weapons on a college campus was a right protected by the Constitution, no state legislation would be necessary — the NRA and other groups would have taken Georgia to court and overturned the campus ban years ago.

That hasn’t happened, and the reason is obvious. In a landmark 2008 decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed an individual right to own firearms. But Scalia — one of the more conservative jurists in our nation’s history — took the time to make this explicit:

“… nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on … laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.”

Imagine if you’re a professor meeting a student angry about a grade, and the student shows up with a sidearm. Under HB 859, the professor would have no ability to object. Imagine that after a heated classroom discussion, one of the angry students shows up armed at the next scheduled class. Again, neither the professor nor fellow students would have legal recourse to object.

No private business would expose its employees to such an environment. Very few allow workers to bring and carry private firearms on the job, and very few allow customers to do so either. The Georgia General Assembly certainly doesn’t allow its constituents to show up armed at Capitol offices.

Jerry Henry, executive director of Georgia Carry, claims that the public would still be protected because HB 859  would apply only to those who have a Georgia carry permit, meaning “those who are 21 or over, been subject to background checks by the GBI, FBI, mental health check.” But as a practical matter, Henry and others have already rendered that small safeguard almost meaningless.

Under legislation passed two years ago, law-enforcement officers — including campus police — who see an armed person are forbidden to check to see if he or she has a permit to do so. They are legally barred from asking. Law-enforcement officials objected strongly to that change, but legislators ignored them. So if the campus weapons ban is lifted, a 20-year-old convicted felon could march onto campus obviously armed and nobody would legally be able to question him.

Brilliant. And just to be clear, gun activists didn’t accidentally render Georgia’s gun permit law almost impossible to enforce. That was their intent, bringing the state a step closer to their ultimate goal of eliminating the permit system altogether.

Unlike other states¹, Georgia requires no gun-safety instruction and no demonstration of basic competence or judgment before the granting of a permit to carry a weapon. In that same AJC poll, Georgia voters were asked whether that should be changed.

Eighty-two percent supported requiring a gun-safety course as a condition of receiving a permit. Just 17 percent opposed it. Just 15 percent of Republicans opposed it. Three different bills creating such a system have been introduced in the current legislative session, and they are doomed.

Under HB 331, for example, the training would be free to the public. It would include instruction in basic firearm safety, information on proper storage “with an emphasis on storage practices that reduce the possibility of accidental injury to a child,” and instruction on state law regarding legal use of such weapons.

Many if not most responsible gun owners would embrace such reasonable law. But its odds of passage in the Georgia General Assembly are about the same as a resolution making Barack Obama president for life.
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¹In Idaho,  for example, a campus-carry law passed in 2014 applies only to those with an “enhanced carry and concealed permit.” Among other things, such a permit requires demonstrated competence in marksmanship under the supervision of a certified instructor and consultation with an attorney about the proper use of firearms in public.

Reader Comments 1

488 comments
TherealCarnage
TherealCarnage

He assumes somehow that a law prohibiting a gun on campus will deter someome wanting to kill on campus.

Laws do not prevent, deter or concern people intending to cause harm. They only prevent lawful people, ya know the responsible gun owners you like to use to wrongly ligitimize your personal opinions, from enjoying their rights.

I have talked with people with his logic and they act like people become murderers simply because they have a gun. They wouldn't trust themselves type talk. Everyone is as incapable as they are to hold back on their desire to kill those they are in disagreement with.

I hear more about wanting to kill others from the left than anyone. Wishing death on those they don't like is kind of their thing fairly often. Maybe only registered dems should have guns prohibited? Including no guns for any security they have. They may act out on those thoughts. They could take the gun from a security guard and go on a murder spree to kill all white cis right wingers. Let's just take precautions is all I'm saying.

Jed Wheeler
Jed Wheeler

I'd honestly like to hear where these polls came from, the Atlanta metro area that heavily liberal and against most gun legislation? Or did it acctually randomly go out to randomly selected people of age within the entire state? Until the method the data was gathered is revealed we should consider it heivily bias to the side of those opposing the bill. Not stating whether I an for or against the bill, I just prefer to know the foundation of data before I actually believe a "statistic."

USG_Prof.
USG_Prof.

An open letter from USG Prof. to the Sponsors of "Campus Carry" Bill in GA: 

As a teacher in the University System of Georgia, I would like to politely ask you to re-consider your support for the "campus carry" bill, at least in its present form. It's illogical how the the bill prohibits "carrying" in dorms, in frat houses, and at sporting events but allows them in classrooms and campus offices. I wonder, do supporters of the bill believe that classrooms, faculty offices, and deans' offices are the most dangerous places, such that a firearm is needed? Having gun, even concealed guns, in these crowded spaces adds unnecessary risk to our already challenged lives as university professors. We can read in the newspaper how firearms are discharged accidentally everyday in homes and other locations, leading to unnecessary death of bystanders and innocent persons.


Also, what if a student who is "carrying" fails to follow the law, and is "carrying" but the weapon is not properly concealed? Then someone, either an unarmed faculty member or a member of our campus security team, is put in the awkward and potentially dangerous situation of having to confront and discipline an armed student.


Thirdly, we have great campus security on my Dunwoody campus of Georgia State University. I do not "carry" and in my ten years of teaching here, I have never felt unsafe. Incidents of armed robbery and any other violent crimes have been so infrequent on our campus that I cannot recall any in recent memory. Also, our campus security team recently conducted "active shooter" response drills, and our campus faculty feel confident that our campus security is more than sufficiently armed and trained to respond to an "active shooter" situation.


Everyday, without the presence of guns, we deal with the challenges of getting students to abide by fairly simple rules of conduct, such as our non-smoking policy, parking rules, attendance policies, academic honesty policies, and distruptive student policies. These policies are reasonable enough, and yet students are often resistant and become hostile when they are reminded to abide by these policies. It seems to me that the authors of the "campus carry" bill assume that students will always be responsible and exercise their "carrying rights" within the guidelines of the law, but our experiences with a various aspects of student conduct demonstrate that maturity levels vary widely among our students as does their cooperativeness and responsiveness to disciplinary requests and actions. Some students become hostile and threatening when disciplined. If you add the presence of a firearm to the hostile interaction between a student violator and a college faculty or staff member, then we are talking about a very unpleasant, unpredictable, and potentially deadly situation.


Thank you for taking the time to review and consider this request.


Sincerely,


William C. "Liam" Madden Jr.
Prof. of English & Humanities
Georgia State University, Perimeter College

Dunwoody Campus, Dunwoody GA
Email: William.Madden@gpc.edu
Office Phone: 770-274-5547

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

Eons ago when stogiefogey matriculated no one gave a thought to being armed on campus because there was zero crime. But the times they be a changin', and if I had to walk the GA Tech or GSU campuses (campi?) after dark I'd prefer to pack heat. ymmv

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

If slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong.

If killin indians isn't wrong, then nothing is wrong.

If the K lan is not wrong, then nothing is wrong.

Nothing is wrong.

Nihilists,

See how they do it?

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser I posted a logical argument based on facts that would accomplish the goal of reducing gun related homicides in this nation. Just because that argument is related to black folks does not in any reasonable manner make them "racist" like you want to run around and scream all day, everyday. So you when YOU see things only in color then it makes you look like you see everything in color. 

td1234
td1234

@stefpe So the entire quota and set aside system was racist. 


Got it

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Economic factors are a FAR larger predictor of who will  become  a criminal or fall victim to gun violence than race


Its telling TD feels its the color of ones skin that makes that determination. But it just isnt.


Anyone of any race born in to extreme poverty and those factors go way way up


Its the poverty stupid. Not race or culture.

td1234
td1234

@Hedley_Lammar And exactly where did I make that argument? 


Where are the facts incorrect? Show me where my facts are incorrect? 

td1234
td1234

@stefpe @Hedley_Lammar Only young black males in the inner city if you want to actually curb gun related homicides like progressives claim they do. 

stefpe
stefpe

@Hedley_Lammar Exactly. I'd suggest some serious "wealth redistribution" would be far more effective in curbing gun violence than silly ideas like banning young black males from buying guns.

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

@stefpe @Hedley_Lammar I wonder how many of the gang members of Chicago go through a background check for their guns..according to TD all of them hahaha

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@td1234 @Hedley_Lammar   Where did you make the argument that it is blacks in the inner city and not poor people?  Oh - about 5x in the thread below when you posted.

"Like I have stated previously if you want to cut gun violence nearly in half in this country then ban gun ownership to inner city black males from the ages of 18 to 35."

juvenal
juvenal

on a lighter note, per Kaiser, still 30mil folks without health insurance-can't afford to be shot.....

Peachs
Peachs

@juvenal the way I figure it I can't afford to be shot either, the insurance is about the only thing I don't worry about. 

rimsky
rimsky

@juvenal Do you have any ideas to have more people insured?  I like to know.

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser Only to those progressives that are afraid to actually discuss the issue based on real numbers. 

stefpe
stefpe

I guess td doesn't think law-abiding inner-city young black males have a right to defend themselves.

td1234
td1234

@stefpe Nope, I think no law abiding citizens rights to keep and bear arms should be infringed. It is the progressives that scream gun related homicides and we MUST do something. Well if progressives MUST do something then I gave the most logical place to start based on real numbers that would accomplish the greatest amount while restricting the least amount of people. 


You cannot argue with the facts. 

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser @stefpe Who is opposing blacks. Only the ABW that sees everything in color. My plan would not infringe of blacks that live in the suburbs or rural areas of the country and would end when you reached the age of 36. 


Mine is an intelligent argument based on facts and data.  

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@stefpe He's on a roll now let him have his moment it's been a while since he posted his opposition to blacks stats.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@OldEngineer @foo2u @td1234 @stefpe Palin is waaay to young to be anything like tiny.  She still has some learning to do.  She's still in her infancy stage of being a racist.  But seriously, tiny eventually brings every post to black people stats.  If the topic is about climate change he will post how black people pollute more than white people.  

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser What did I say that was "racist"? You throw that term around way to much not to be called out for your BS. 

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

Sounds like td's prepared to take Constitutional rights way from those people...

goat diddler
goat diddler

@Nick_Danger This surprises no one... A few years ago he was on here crying that we should forcibly detain aid workers returning from Africa because of the Ebola... 

Clearly a constitutionally challenged idea... 

juvenal
juvenal

just arm any teachers that are vets-

juvenal
juvenal

@rimsky @juvenal maybe then they would get the PTSD treatment they can't get now(but this actually works pretty good at the schools here)

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@juvenal

My dogs are scared schnirtless of guns. No way in hell I'd go to an armed vet!

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