Georgia students have begun carrying guns on college campuses as allowed under the state’s new law.
There is some consensus among supporters and critics about one aspect of Georgia’s new campus carry law, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Both sides say the provision that allows licensed weapon owners to carry guns at tailgating, but not inside athletic venues, needs changes.
People who oppose the law want guns banned from tailgating.
Those who support it want the law to provide for a safer place to store guns on campus other than a vehicle glove compartment.
“I think mixing guns with alcohol is not a good thing, especially with students tailgating,” said Emma Moore, 22, a first-year University of Georgia graduate student from Gwinnett County.
Dallin Larsen, a third-year UGA doctoral student who is a licensed weapon holder, said the rules are too cumbersome.
Parking lots can be a long walk from tailgating areas. And the law didn’t make allowances for storing guns on campus, Larsen said. Cars, he said, are the only places where a gun could be stored before entering the stadium. So his plan is to tailgate at a friend’s house off-campus.
“A lot of people will decide to not carry to avoid the inconvenience of having to find a proper and secure place to store their firearm before going into the stadium,” said Larsen, 30.
This is the first school year under the new campus carry law.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 280 into law in May, allowing licensed weapons holders to carry firearms on various portions of Georgia’s public colleges and universities.
The law does not apply to private institutions, such as Emory University or the Atlanta University Center’s campuses.
The law took effect in July and, so far, state officials say no one has been charged with carrying a gun in a prohibited area.
Those who advocated for the legislation say the early numbers showing no misdemeanor violations of the law show the fears about campus carry were overblown.
“It’s just one more place to carry,” said Jerry Henry, executive director of the gun rights group, Georgia Carry.
Those who were against the bill concede the law won’t be repealed, but they want changes, such as removing the tailgating provision.
“We’re not going to be able to repeal this bill.but we’re looking at how can we try to avoid the things we’re most afraid of,” said Mallory Jessica Harris, a University of Georgia student who actively tried to stop the campus carry legislation.