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HB981: Proposed bill could change concealed weapons laws on Georgia campuses

 A bill that would allow concealed weapons on Georgia campuses is facing opposition within VSU and beyond.

Twenty-three states in America allow campuses to determine their own gun policies. Most states choose not to; however, Utah, Mississippi, Wisconsin and Oregon are the four states that allow guns on campus. Wisconsin prohibits guns from buildings only. 

 HB 981 is a bill that may allow guns on Georgia campuses if passed.    

 The bill states that it will allow Georgia campuses “to provide persons holding valid weapons carry license to carry a concealed weapon into certain locations under certain circumstances.” 

 This bill will allow guns on Georgia campuses; however guns will not be allowed “to enter, occupy, or remain within the state capitol building or any building housing committee offices, committee rooms, or offices of members, officials, or employees of the General Assembly or either house.” 

 This bill has created much controversy all over the state of Georgia. 

 VSU’s faculty senate is currently considering a request by professor Michael Noll that it pass a resolution against concealed weapons on our campus.

 There is a petition located at signon.org that will be delivered to the Georgia State House and Gov. Nathan Deal if at least 750 people sign it. 

 Many Valdosta citizens have already signed this petition, including Leigh Touchton, president of the Lowndes/Valdosta NAACP, and Dr. Thomas Hochschild, a sociology professor.

 “Gov. Deal, are you prepared to pass back an exam grade of ‘F’ to a stressed out student with a gun,” Hochschild said on the petition. “No? Me neither. I will resign from Valdosta State University immediately if HB 981 passes.”

 Touchton was also disturbed.   “As a professor, I now have to sit down with students carrying concealed handguns when they come in irate about a grade,” Touchton said. “This is crazy.

Along with professors, most students will have the same anxiety of always feeling threatened if HB 981 is passed.”

 Students have also given negative reactions to the bill.

 “I will not attend school if this bill is passed,”  Necoyiah Swain, a sophomore, said.

 The bill is not without its supporters though.

 Robert Eagar, leader of Georgia Tech’s chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCC), believes that people should have the right to protect themselves at all times.

 “Individuals should have the same right to protect themselves on campus as they do off campus,” Eagar said in an article published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Feb. 16.

 Students for Concealed Carry has many chapters located on university campuses across the country all with the aim to raise awareness for bills like HB 981.

 Seventeen colleges in Georgia alone house chapters of the organization.

 Starting on Monday, SCC chapters across the nation will hold empty holster protests on campus where participants will wear empty holsters in plain sight and hand out pamphlets and flyers to raise awareness for their cause.

 The protests are scheduled to last from April 2 to April 6.

 The VSU Faculty Senate will hold its next open meeting on April 19 where the resolution will be considered.

Chad Stone also contributed to this article.

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  1. If there is any interest, I’d be more than happy to provide current statitics regarding concealed carry permit holders. This group is less likely that the remainder of the population to engage in illegal activities and has been shown to be able to conduct themselves safely in crowded places and universities. There is no reason to expect Georgia students to be far more violent than students in Utah or other ares that have allowed campus carry for several years.

  2. Law Abiding Citizen

    Name one instance where a law prevented someone from shooting someone else? The fact is, even though there are grave concerns about campus students allowed to carry a firearm to school, does not change the fact that school shooting have occurred. In essence, by authorizing law abiding citizens the right to carry a firearm does NOT mean they will, does NOT mean they will shoot anyone, does NOT mean anything other than students will be allowed to carry on campuses, which some already do, despite the law “prohibiting” them from doing so. To think there are no guns already on college campuses nation wide is to be blind and ignorant.

    Guns are accessible in American society, guns exist and people have them, students are people. Again no law has prevented any of America’s school shooting incidents from occurring. There is concern from both sides, but the truth is by the passage of HB 981, the only facts that will change for sure is that more firearms will be allowed on campuses by law abiding citizens, which levels the field opposed to those already carrying them on campuses, for who knows what intentions.

  3. Considering that research is an essential part of the college process I challenge anyone against carrying concealed weapons on campus to find one documented case where an individual with a carry permit has ever been charged and convicted of a crime committed with a gun. Law abiding citizens get permits and do NOT commit crimes, whereas criminals do not have permits and they DO commit crimes. These students are only looking for protection that the police and the school cannot provide.

    • To law abiding citizen:
      I bet if u research, u will find a few! I will research to find out and discuss this with several of my friends who are attorneys.
      My son is 23 and bought his first gun (9mm Glock) last year.He quickly obtained his concealed weapons permit.As of yet he hasn’t had any legal trouble, but its coming. He always acts as if someone is going to run up and kill us. I have reports from several people that he waves his gun out in public with his anger and being a bully, which goes completely against why he bought it…for protection. I just see him being the threat. Most young men my sons age (college age) are not yet mature enough to have a concealed weapon. I
      Know plenty and only a couple have that level of maturity.

      He acts b
      f he is in a video game all the time or a mobster movie. I know
      this isn’t typical of most permit holders.

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