No matter which college campus you visit, the question of firearms carry is a hot-button issue. At urban schools like Georgia Tech and Georgia State, the debate revolving around campus carry is especially relevant, as students are vulnerable to crime in dangerous parts of downtown and Midtown Atlanta. Most of the objections to campus carry come from student government associations, which cite a higher likelihood of suicide, accident and crime.
Georgia Tech has a crime issue. The realization that opponents to campus carry fail to confront is that criminals will attain and use firearms whether or not they are legal. It is, in fact, only vulnerable college students who are affected by a ban on campus carry. With the knowledge that an unarmed, stressed-out, Georgia Tech student is walking alone from the library with $5,000 of electronics in his or her backpack, robberies on campus are both easy and lucrative.
A bill to allow concealed carry on campus could radically change Georgia Tech’s crime scene. The perceived “quick and easy” muggings of Tech students would turn into risky hits. Last week’s defenseless student could be next week’s armed and alert pedestrian. With even the possibility that the next robbery could result in an armed confrontation, the crime rate would fall, and student safety would be more secure.
Think this idea is crazy? Look at the states that have implemented campus carry. Schools in Colorado, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Oregon and Utah have benefited from reduced crime rates as a result of campus carry laws. Georgia Tech dumps thousands of dollars into a police department and crime prevention, but continues to suffer from rising crime. Why not give students the right to protect themselves, like any other Georgia citizen?
Worried that campus carry would increase the suicide rate among stressed-out students? Keep in mind that students who can carry concealed must be 21 and often live off campus. Therefore, campus carry laws would have little impact on firearms possession in the home, and would not impact overall suicide numbers.
Worried that allowing campus carry will increase school shooting massacres? Think of what one gun-carrying student could have done to prevent the tragic Virginia Tech shootings. Indeed, college campuses without carry allowances leave students defenseless against crazed shooters — who obviously do not pay attention to campus carry laws.
As a concerned Georgia Tech student, all I ask is that Georgia lawmakers allow us to defend ourselves by passing campus carry laws. By following the models of the several campus-carry legal states, college students in Georgia — especially in urban Atlanta — will benefit from lower crime rates and increased student safety. College students are the next generation of workers, entrepreneurs and leaders.
Andrew Mullins, of Savannah, is chairman of College Republicans at Georgia Tech and a fourth-year biology major.