I have been lucky to have an incredible college experience in my first three years at Mercer University. Though I go to a private institution, “Campus Carry” legislation poses a threat to the positive college experiences of my friends and fellow students at public institutions.
On March 11, the Georgia Senate passed HB 859, a bill that would allow guns on the campuses of public colleges and universities in Georgia.
Proponents of the “Campus Carry” legislation argue this will make campuses safer. Some even go as far as to say that banning guns on campus will make them targets for attack.
This logic is not only dangerous, but absurd. Here are three of the many reasons that guns on campus will make universities less safe:
1. College students are reporting more issues of mental health problems than ever before. Adding guns to the equation could result in increased suicide rates and more attacks.
2. In an emergency, students carrying guns create a confusing situation for campus police. How will police be able to tell a “good guy with a gun” from a bad guy with a gun? Gov. Deal may not be impressed with the “Wild West Scenario” argument, but the possibility is very real. Guns on campus can lead to more injuries than lives saved.
3. An important part of higher education is having a student’s own views challenged by professors and other students. Colleges are a place for opinions to be developed, challenged and defended. Campus carry laws could incite justified fear in students and professors who have conflicting, possible provoking, opinions in the classroom. Campus carry laws not only pose a physical threat, but an educational threat as well.
The absurdity of the campus carry law shows another important phenomenon in the current political state. Legislatures are being drawn to extremes. This bill passed in both the House and the Senate along party line votes. Being an election year, Republicans couldn’t possibly vote ‘no’ to pro-gun legislation for fear of losing their seats. That should be nothing compared to the dangers posed by college students carrying guns in classrooms, libraries, day cares and just about everywhere else.
Local politics matter. With so much focus on the national election, local elections can become overlooked. However, lawmakers are passing bills that have a direct effect on your everyday life. Remember the importance of local politics this election year. Absurd bills like “Campus Carry” should not become laws in our state.