“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage that to prevent, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” –Thomas Jefferson quoting Cesare Beccaria
After way too much time in the heart of downtown Atlanta at Georgia State University, I developed my own opinion on whether students should have the right to carry firearms on campus. As I was getting into my car after leaving an evening class, I heard gunshots in the parking lot above me. About an hour later, I received an email from the Georgia State University Police detailing the incident. A little late don’t you think?
This semester Georgia Tech, also in Atlanta city limits, has been plagued with some pretty brutal attacks including muggings, sexual assaults and most recently, an intense robbery that left a student badly beaten. Many of these assaults occurred at gunpoint and all have taken place on campus.
Georgia Tech, and all colleges for that matter, have a DUTY to protect the students. Countless resources from Georgia Tech Police and Atlanta Police are being implemented to no avail. Both Georgia State and Georgia Tech offer ‘Courtesy Officers’ who will escort students to their cars and campus dorms but they can’t escort everyone and they can’t be everywhere. Georgia Tech’s campus spans over 400 acres and Georgia State’s campus spans 34 acres. Both touch on some of Atlanta’s roughest areas of town.
After the most recent robbery and assault, the Georgia Tech College Republicans sponsored an event for the right to carry guns on campus. Adries Celedon, the Chairman of the GTCR said in a statement to WSBtv, “From my experience, the people who have concealed carry licenses are the most responsible people”. They face significant opposition, though. In 2009, Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson said mixing alcohol, guns and 20,000 students is a “terrible combination…I think it’s a recipe for a disaster.” You know whats a disaster? The tragedy at Virginia Tech. Or how about the shooting at San Jose State this year? Ohio State University and University of Alabama-Huntsville in 2010? The list is long. Imagine if there had been students or teachers on those campuses who were armed. The gunmen could have been stopped, or what’s more, deterred all together.
Why shouldn’t Georgia Tech students be allowed to carry a firearm? These students are being targeted because criminals KNOW they are unarmed. They are walking around a gated (in a sense that all University grounds are firearm-free) area with no protection. They are sitting ducks. Note: What’s happening on the Georgia Tech campus is EXACTLY what would happen if the right to bear arms was banned: weapons would be in the hands of criminals. The advice the university is recommending (stay in groups, don’t walk at night if it’s avoidable etc) isn’t satisfactory. Students in groups have been attacked and both Georgia Tech and Georgia State offer evening classes. So what do we do?
The Right to Carry age should be reduced to 18 in order to cater to students. If you can serve in the armed forces, buy cigarettes and purchase a home, you should certainly be able to exercise the 2nd amendment. If the school cannot protect the students, the students need to be able to protect themselves.
Update: the same day this blog was posted, there was yet another tragedy at Virginia Tech What else has to happen????
“If gun laws in fact worked, the sponsors of this type of legislation should have no difficulty drawing upon long lists of examples of crime rates reduced by such legislation. That they cannot do so after a century and a half of trying—that they must sweep under the rug the southern attempts at gun control in the 1870-1910 period, the northern attempts in the 1902-1939 period, the attempts at both Federal and State levels in 1965-1976—establishes the repeated, complete and inevitable failure of gun laws to control serious crime.” Senator Orrin Hatch
What do you think?