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Campus gun laws draw concern

Published: Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 10:02

        Despite recent efforts by neighboring students at the Georgia Institute of Technology to lobby for the right to carry of firearms on campus, many Georgia State students remain unsure or against a new campus gun law.

        "I don't think [students legally carrying firearms on campus] would be safe," said Alyssa Berbrich, a senior and hospitality major at Georgia State.

"It is our right to bear arms, but there's a time and place for that, and school is definitely not the  place," she said.

       Thomas Salako, a managerial science major and junior, agrees with Berbrich.

"I'm against it," Salako said. "[Legally carrying firearms on campus] doesn't hold well against my idea of ‘safety.' I just don't see a reason for firearms on campus."

       Still, such sentiment has not deterred pro-gun rights legislation in the last few years. As recently as June 2010, Gov. Sunny Perdue vetoed a bill that would have legalized concealed firearms on campuses statewide.

      According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, 18 states introduced legislation of some kind to allow the carry of concealed weapons on campus. Today, only Mississippi and Wisconsin have been successful in passing conceal and carry legislation, although Mississippi's law is presently being contested.

      Furthermore, while 49 out of 50 states currently have concealed carry weapon laws, only 22 states go so far as to ban the right to carry and conceal a weapon on college campuses – Georgia being one of them.

      Laura Martin, a Georgia State graduate student, has obtained a gun permit in Arizona and understands why some students may want to carry a firearm on campus. Despite the fact that Martin is "all for protection" of one's self, she is not so sure how she feels about students walking around her carrying weapons.

      "I know that I know how to use a gun, but I wouldn't want to carry it on campus," Martin said. "I also have a Tazer. There are other ways of protecting yourself besides carrying a gun."

Damon Knight, a junior and film and video major, attended school in Arizona as well – a state that is currently undergoing the process of overturning current gun laws on campuses.

"I didn't feel safe on campus in Arizona," Knight said. "A problem can easily escalate and turn violent. Anything can happen."

Chrystle Scott, a freshman with an undecided major, is happy Georgia has yet to pass such a law.

"I'm totally against [carrying firearms on campus]. You never know – someone may be having a bad day and might pull out a gun on the class," he said. "Some people are just that crazy."

"I think it's safe for the individual carrying the weapon but not for the community as a whole," Scott said.

         Freshman Draven Link said that guns make him uncomfortable, especially in the hands of someone depressed or mentally unstable.

 "I don't want to be a victim of somebody's bad grade or somebody's bad day," Link said. "The Virginia Tech shootings scared me. I'd hate to see something like that happen on the Georgia State campus."

       But while many Georgia State students are against concealed firearms on campus, some students can see both sides.

Senior journalism major Preston Locklear said students should be allowed to carry firearms, although he see's why it's a controversial issue.

      "The university is still a public place. I don't think more people would be carrying weapons – I think people who already have guns would just carry them," Locklear said. "But I see both sides."


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