As of July, 2017, legislation ending the ban of guns on Georgia college and university campuses went into effect. According to House Bill 280, signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal, students with concealed weapons permits may now carry a firearm into school buildings and classrooms. Some restrictions do apply; among them: sporting events, preschool and childcare areas, disciplinary meetings, and fraternity and sorority houses. Georgia is the 10th state to pass similar legislation, after Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. This very well could affect seniors and their choice of school. A few Athens Academy seniors were asked for their views on this topic.
Paul Mullinax believes that “it is okay given the right circumstances.” He continued to say, “By no means should it be something that is for everyone. I think that the process to get to that point for someone who wants to carry a concealed weapon―it needs to be a long and extensive process...background checks, looking into mental stability, whatever.” Paul is very clear on his position; he knows that whether or not a school allows guns would not impact his decision to go there.
Sofy Bertioli has quite a different view on things. She thinks “it depends on the type of school.” She said, “In the south, a lot of people are going to want that, so it depends…also the campus size, like UGA, obviously, it’s a huge flipheckin’ campus, so it’ll be hard for people not to carry them if they have a permit.” Sofy said that campus carry laws would impact her decision of school. She said, “It’s very personal for me. So going to university where they don’t allow guns on campus, I would feel a lot safer and less likely to be attacked. But if a university allowed guns but were careful with it, it wouldn’t bother me that much.” She also suggested that having a gun check-in as you went into a building would make her feel safer if guns were permitted. Right now, there are not safes or lockers at UGA where students could deposit their guns if they needed to go into an area where guns are restricted.
Also interviewed was Fariha Ahmed. She was uncertain as to how she really felt about the issue but was leaning more toward the argument against ghaving guns on campus. When I asked her if it would impact her choice of school, she was unsure. Fariha cited a shooting at Georgia College earlier this year, and while it doesn’t take Georgia College off the table for her applications, it may impact her decision to go there. She still is considering what role the law will play in her decision.
Caroline Kuhnert was one student who expressed that she thinks guns are useless on campus and nobody should be allowed to have them.
If a tragic shooting were to happen at UGA, perhaps that would impact more senior views and decision making. Most Athens Academy Seniors seem to be aware of the concealed carry law but have not really let it affect where they applied. All that were interviewed said it would make them think about their life on campus but did not completely take the college off the table. One out of four seniors said it would impact whether they actually attended the school.