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College gun bill likely to get GA legislature priority | Education

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College gun bill likely to get GA legislature priority

ATLANTA -- Although the Georgia Board of Regents forbids it, the folks who run the Georgia legislature would like to expand the rights of college students to carry guns on campus.   They do so especially with an eye on urban campuses like Georgia Tech.

"I feel like Georgia Tech is a really sketchy place at night," said Devyn Blackman, who will graduate in May 2014.   Many lawmakers think students ought to be able to use firearms to defend themselves.  Blackman is among the Tech students who are inclined to agree.

"It's a college campus. so you do have adults making adult decisions," said John Tipton, a freshman from Eureka, Missouri. "Then you should be able to make good choices with a firearm with you."

One bill lawmakers will consider would allow only students over the age of 21 who already have concealed weapons permits to carry their weapons on campus. Its backers say it would reduce crime on and around college campuses.

"Those students should be able to defend themselves," said Jerry Henry, executive director of Georgia Carry. "And if you arm that group of students, criminals don't know who the ones who are over 21 and have a firearm license or not."

But many students are wary.

"There could be more accidental shootings," said Ola Asonibare, a sophomore from Nigeria.

"I wouldn't" feel safer, said Pat Chevalier, a junior from New Jersey. "I think that you shouldn't have a gun on campus."

Similar legislation nearly passed last year. That bill also would have allowed school administrators to carry guns, and also would have expanded gun rights in churches.