Tech students rally today for guns on campus. Good idea?

Some Tech students will rally today for guns on the campus. (AJC File)

Some Tech students will rally today for guns on the campus. (AJC File)

As a brand new college president, G.P. “Bud” Peterson of Georgia Tech sat down with the AJC two years ago and talked about many issues, including why he opposes guns on his campus.  He said mixing alcohol, guns and 20,000 students is a “terrible combination…I think it is a recipe for disaster.”  (You can read the full interview here.)

He said the solution to campus crime was not guns, but more alert students, pointing to the pattern in most crime incidents involving Tech students: A student listening to his iPod is walking in the neighborhoods around the campus very late at night and is surprised by someone jumping out of car suddenly and demanding his iPod, cell phone, laptop and wallet.

Posted here to the blog, his comments set off the usual firestorm that accompanies any mention of restricting guns in Georgia. (I wrote about guns and gun laws for 12 years for the AJC editorial board, focusing on weapons in schools and on college campuses. I can vouch for the passion and anger around guns.)

Guns are again a topic on the Tech campus today, where campus Republicans are holding a rally at 11 a.m.

According to the AJC:

The Georgia Tech College Republicans will demonstrate on campus in partnership with Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, a pro-carry organization that has coordinated similar efforts at campuses around the country.

“We just had a robbery last night,” Andrés Celedón, chairman of the College Republicans, noted Monday. Celedón, a third-year student of public policy, said the goal of the effort is to even out the arms race between students and criminals. “It’s just really allowing kids a way to defend themselves.”

But university officials want to keep the current law, which prohibits civilians from carrying a gun on the campus of any Georgia college or university. Students cannot legally keep firearms in their dorm rooms, although legislators changed the law last year to allow them to keep guns under lock and key in their vehicles.

From year to year, Georgia lawmakers regularly entertain — and thus far have defeated — bills that would overturn the concealed-carry ban. That suits university administrators just fine.

“We believe that the safest environment is to prohibit firearms from being present in our classrooms, in our labs, in our dormitories and on our campuses,” said Tom Daniel, senior vice chancellor for external affairs for the University System of Georgia. There is no place for guns in a learning environment, he said, adding campus security is rightly entrusted with keeping students safe.

But gun rights advocates say that Georgia Tech students, subject this year to a string of robberies, burglaries and assaults, including one rape, many of them off-campus, need more than campus police. “They believe in law abiding citizens protecting themselves,” said Jason Stubbs, state director for Georgia Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, who will also be at today’s event.

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

351 comments Add your comment

student

December 6th, 2011
9:10 am

As a Tech student, I think this is a bad idea. Imagine this, a student carrying a weapon is approached by an armed robber. The student draws his weapon. The robber is now MUCH more likely to shoot this student now. If the student just hands over his phone or wallet, he would most likely be let go with little or no injury.

Beverly Fraud

December 6th, 2011
9:17 am

Can we at least get Tech administrators to admit, that one of the consequences of their banning guns is that the criminals KNOW in no uncertain terms, that the students are SITTING DUCKS?

Obviously the campus police do not provide an EFFECTIVE deterrent. (We aren’t blaming the campus police, because we don’t know if they are being given the TOOLS to do the job.)

But let’s not insult vulnerable students at risk with PLATITUDES. Even a stun gun, which unlike a handgun wouldn’t cause needless death, might be seen as a EFFECTIVE deterrent, would it not?

V for Vendetta

December 6th, 2011
9:20 am

Student,

Hand over your iPod, wallet, and valuables.

Then shoot him in the back.

carlosgvv

December 6th, 2011
9:20 am

Imagine a large fraternity party where the alcohol flows freely and everyone is armed. Then imagine about 50 very drunk armed students staggering away from that party. Finally, imagine many of these students being approached by a gang of young Atlanta savages intent on robbery and violence. Get the picture?

Metro Coach

December 6th, 2011
9:21 am

A “mugger”, which is what these guys are, usually carries a knife or something other than a gun to threaten a would be victim. They value surprise over firepower. The first time one of these cowards got their sorry tails shot up the robbery rate would drop 25% just on word of mouth. Dead criminals don’t become repeat offenders. Take advantage of your 2nd Amendment rights, buy a gun, learn how to use it properly and legally. That way when some punk, who is too lazy to get a real job, decides to try and mug you, you can calmly pull out your weapon and defuse the situation. 99% of the time the would be mugger will soil himself and run away like the coward he is. guns should absolutely be allowed on campus.

student

December 6th, 2011
9:21 am

I’d rather not live with knowing I killed someone, even if he was a criminal.

Metro Coach

December 6th, 2011
9:22 am

carlosgvv…I’d imagine a bunch of dead thugs and several lawsuits. However, the criminals would still be dead. Sounds like a win to me.

Metro Coach

December 6th, 2011
9:23 am

student gives us the perfect example of the passive liberal victim.

student

December 6th, 2011
9:27 am

I’ve been at Tech three years. I currently live off campus, and I stay alert when I’m walking around. I don’t listen to music. I stay on the phone and keep the person I’m talking to aware of my location. I only walk alone during the daytime when I’m going to and from campus. If I have to be out at night, I drive. These are all things students (or anyone else, for that matter) should do when in a high crime area. It’s not rocket science, which, by the way, some Tech students can do – yet they can’t seem to master staying aware of their surroundings..

V for Vendetta

December 6th, 2011
9:30 am

student,

Give me a break.

T-Square

December 6th, 2011
9:32 am

I think allowing law abiding citizens and students to carry guns on campus is a perfectly good idea. Allowing students to keep guns in their cars hasn’t caused gun crimes to increase on campus, why would allowing those same students, the ones that already have permits, and are more responsible than the average student, the right to carry their weapon with them increase the violence? Can you site me any statistics that prove that? If you go to the AJC story and read the rest of the article, it goes on to site statistics that say that it doesn’t increase gun violence, but it typically doesn’t help as much as you might think it could. I would still advocate for carrying on campus (and did when I was a student at Tech), simply because many of the criminals that haunt the outskirts of campus are simply cowardly thugs who probably wouldn’t want to attack students if they thought there was a chance they were armed. Are there as many muggings and beatings in the rest of downtown? If there are they aren’t talked about as much. Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that any average Joe on the street in downtown could be packing and the criminals don’t know who is and who isn’t? Why take a chance on letting more of our students get mugged, beaten and raped when there is something we could do that could make them much safer?

student

December 6th, 2011
9:35 am

I’d say students are probably more likely targeted because muggers know we have phones, laptops, and probably money on us.

Aquagirl

December 6th, 2011
9:37 am

I hate people who tell me I should avoid crime by being more alert. What’s that’s really saying is “let some UNALERT person be the victim instead.”

carlosgvv

December 6th, 2011
9:39 am

I apologize for my crass, douche-chill inducing comments earlier.

T-Square

December 6th, 2011
9:39 am

student – I would say that is only half the equation. There are plenty of other places in Atlanta where a mugger would be just as likely to get phones (everywhere), laptops (most business places) and a much higher chance/higher amount of money, but not anywhere else where they know that everyone besides the police are going to be unarmed.

AR

December 6th, 2011
9:43 am

“Imagine a large fraternity party where the alcohol flows freely and everyone is armed. Then imagine about 50 very drunk armed students staggering away from that party.” They would be guilty of handling a firearm while intoxicated. Just like driving while intoxicated. Shall we ban students from owning vehicles? They are 3,000+ lb devices of destruction and killing after all…

Beyond that, my little sister is permitted and carries on her AL University Campus at times, e.g. when not drinking and out late at night returning from work. Are GA students more irresponsible and less deserving of trust than AL students?

GA’s current policy creates a pro-crime region for GA Tech. It’s an urban, population dense location where crime is going to have a higher likely hood of happening, and they ban law abiding citizens form possessing a means of defending themselves.

Robbery, murder, rape are already crimes with steep punishments. Does the extra punishment from carrying a firearm near a campus really deter criminals who have no care for violating the prior laws?

T-Square

December 6th, 2011
9:44 am

carlosgvv – No worries, I think the situation you outlined, even without the thugs is scary enough, but typically the students that have concealed carry permits aren’t the ones that are going to be going and drinking so much at the frat parties, at least not with their guns. We take our rights/responsibilities seriously and don’t want to do anything to jeopardize them.

Just A Teacher

December 6th, 2011
9:50 am

A more practical solution for students would be to transfer to a different college located in a better area than Atlanta. Simply take your tuition money to Georgia Southern, Columbus State, UGA, West Georgia, or any other college. I wouldn’t pay money to attend a school where I felt unsafe.

T-Square

December 6th, 2011
9:52 am

Just A Teacher – Cause there is another school in the state where you can get the same level of education as you can at Tech? Yep, seems like you’ve hit on a winner there. Or not.

Tech '10

December 6th, 2011
9:57 am

As a resposible gun owner and proud Tech Alum, this is probably a terrible idea. The Georgia concealed carry test is way too easy.. there is none. When I got mine, I went to the courthouse, then to the sheriff’s office and 2 weeks later it was in the mail. If GT required a 20 – 50 shot test for those wanting to carry in addition to the normal requirements, I might be for it. A decent compromise IMO would be to let off campus students carry. T-Square @ 9:44 has a good point, a very good point that I most certainly relate to, but my fear is that inexperenced people will get ahold of guns because they can and not have the slightest idea about how to use them and when to NOT use them.

Inman Park Boy

December 6th, 2011
9:58 am

If police services here were worth anything, it wouldn’t be necessary. Anyone who lives “in town” knows that at night the streets belong to the criminals. Pitiful.

T-Square

December 6th, 2011
10:00 am

Inman Park Boy – It isn’t the job of the police to protect you from criminals, it is the job of the police to investigate crimes and catch the criminals after they’ve already committed those crimes. Remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

Warrior Woman

December 6th, 2011
10:01 am

Yes, it is a good idea. Clearly campus and city police are not preventing crimes in the area. Why we would want to let every thug out there know that there’s a target-rich area forbidden to protect themselves?

T-Square

December 6th, 2011
10:04 am

Tech ‘10 – There is the possibility that students who have no knowledge about how to use guns are going to buy them and use them anyway. I do agree that the process for getting a carry permit in Georgia could be stricter, but that is a different debate for a different day. I wouldn’t be opposed to having students (as is the case with most places that allow students to carry on campus I believe) that want to carry register themselves and their weapons with the campus police. But I don’t agree with restricting the student’s rights, so that only the criminals have weapons.

T-Square

December 6th, 2011
10:04 am

Tech ‘10 – That was supposed to say “there is already the possibility…”

Tech '10

December 6th, 2011
10:05 am

Greeks should also probably not have them… they are not typically known for responisibility, in my experience.

Just A Teacher

December 6th, 2011
10:06 am

If it’s that important to you, T-Square, go ahead and stay there. Just don’t complain about being victimized by criminals when you are living in the middle of the crime capital of the Southeast. Face it; there is nothing safe about downtown Atlanta. Btw, I think you are selling other colleges and universities short. Do you really think Tech is that much better than Spellman or Emory?

Techie

December 6th, 2011
10:10 am

why shouldn’t students be able to conceal and carry? the students should be treated like any other citizen of this country, who has had a background check and has a permiit to conceal. The criminals know that students dont have a gun on them and they are easy targets. You can carry a gun in your glove compartment or in the console of your car as long as it is locked up with no permit needed.

the real OLD GOLD

December 6th, 2011
10:10 am

The criminal doesn’t care about the law. Protect the students or allow them to protect themselves.

T-Square

December 6th, 2011
10:11 am

Just A Teacher – Do Spellman (odd choice considering your argument about location, and the location of Spellman) or Emory have top ranked engineering programs? What about architecture? You’re right, they’re just as good, if I don’t want to be an engineer or an architect. Also, I’m not complaining, just pointing out facts.

Tech '10

December 6th, 2011
10:13 am

T-Square: Point seen and taken. I would agree with the registering of weapons with GTPD. Maybe even the Concealed Carry crowd and GTPD could hold a class for new students alerting them to the complexities of urban self defense and shooting, mainly the chance of hitting an unintended target due to over-penetration, choosing an appropriate caliber, revolvers v autos, etc. The college and state agencies are cutting resources and students are not allowed to help pick up the slack by defending themselves. The current system is clearly not working.

tech grad

December 6th, 2011
10:13 am

There is no doubt that a change needs to happen, but I don’t support carrying a concealed weapon on campus. As a Tech alum, the first thing that comes to mind is overworked, over-stressed, anti-social students that have the legal right to carry a gun on campus… and I find it a little worrisome. Think about the samurai sword incident that happened not long ago (albeit, an isolated incident). I agree with Tech ‘10 that I fear inexperienced people will wield guns with disastrous results.

Aquagirl

December 6th, 2011
10:14 am

There is the possibility that students who have no knowledge about how to use guns are going to buy them and use them anyway.

Why not give law-abiding people a reasonable way to carry? Many students are there to get a degree and do something with their lives, and don’t carry guns illegally for fear of consequences.

It’s a gun, not a toy. If they hand out permits to any slob who can fill out a form, I’d stay at least a mile from campus, it’s dangerous enough without adding a bunch of Nervous Nellies with guns.

Pamela

December 6th, 2011
10:15 am

Guns on any colleg campus is a disaster waiting to happen. The ONLY people that should have guns on campus are the Police Officers period. Nobody else. GA Tech really need to beef up the security on campus…off campus the ATL Police need to be present on a regular basis.

Pamela

December 6th, 2011
10:15 am

Oops..typo.. I meant to say ‘college’..not colleg :)

Techie

December 6th, 2011
10:16 am

Typical comment from a LIBTARD-just a Teacher..so by your logic, transferring to another school would prevent this type of crime from happening. As if Ga Tech is the only campus where this type of thing is happening. You just have an issue with people legally allowed to carry guns. Do you remember all thos rapes that were happening around the UGA campus?

Ben

December 6th, 2011
10:16 am

Haven’t heard much from you(Maureen) on this topic lately. You know where I stand on guns, so it’s time to preempt the academics and pro criminal sympathizers and give students attending GA Tech the means to protect themselves with guns, concealed or openly carried(as I do). It’s coming maybe in the next legislative session if they’re(students) lucky.

Pamela

December 6th, 2011
10:17 am

The ignorant people who rob these students really don’t realize that they are broke! Students don’t have any money what so ever! Even if they did..does not give anyone the right to rob them. That is wrong.

Brian

December 6th, 2011
10:18 am

Just A Teacher, Tech is that much better than Spellman and Emory. Nowhere in the southeastern US can compare with the engineering program at Tech.

Tech '10

December 6th, 2011
10:18 am

Just a Teacher: I went to Tech because it was one of the few in the state that had my major and I was smart enough to get in. And no, no other college in the state compares with Tech in Engineering and Architecture related programs for the price. The business program is top notch, so again, for the price you are hard pressed to find a better one, except GA State, which location takes them out of the argument according to you. Liberal Arts on the other hand, sure, there are plenty of schools you could transfer to.

T-Square

December 6th, 2011
10:19 am

Tech ‘10 – You’re a reasonable guy, as I’ve seen on other blogs, I agree with what you’re saying. I also agree with many of the other points made here, but don’t understand the innate fear people seem to have at the idea that a student could arm him/herself. I’m already allowed to keep my pistol locked in my car while I’m on campus, so am I more dangerous when I’m off campus packing than I am when I’m on campus? I’m just pointing out that an arbitrary line (such as the boundaries of the school) shouldn’t restrict the rights I have to carry my pistol to protect myself. Especially if that arbitrary line creates a large concentration of unarmed people that become the perfect targets for criminals all over the city.

Rick

December 6th, 2011
10:22 am

I just graduated from Tech this past May and I disagree with allowing guns on campus. Besides the issue of more drunk college kids carrying weapons around, if a mugger has a knife or gun on you, do you really think you’re going to be able to pull out a gun and shoot him? Whether muggers know if students can have guns isn’t exactly a strong argument that they will be deterred either. Most of these muggings happen off campus where students could have guns on them, and that includes in home invasion situations where a student would even more likely have a gun in their home than on their person at all times.

Aquagirl

December 6th, 2011
10:25 am

Guns on any colleg campus is a disaster waiting to happen.

There seem to be plenty of disasters already happening, Pamela.

Chip

December 6th, 2011
10:25 am

This is a terrible idea if you believe that a licensed individual can responsibly carry a gun one one side of the street, but by crossing an invisible line that exists on the other side of the street will become a menace. If you believe that imaginary lines drawn in certain places do not affect the behavior of human beings, then it is sensible to allow people who are able to carry guns to be able to carry them both on and off campus.

Tancred

December 6th, 2011
10:26 am

Isn’t the real problem here that there is a regenerative culture among a certain cohort in the ATL population that produces and even celebrates wanton criminality? Even some of the poorest people in the world don’t resort to assaulting strangers. We need to get to these potential criminals at an EARLY age. All communities should have well-funded pre-school and after-school programs; we should institute a mandatory public service program for all citizens to support them with mentoring and old-fashioned lessons in ethics and civil responsibility. That won’t fix the parents, but it will allow some kids to understand what being a citizen means.

superman

December 6th, 2011
10:28 am

Are stun guns legal for students to carry to classrooms? Maybe stun guns would be a good answer for this problem before the university moves to allowing students to carry lethal weapons.

Chip

December 6th, 2011
10:28 am

Rick, you state that “Most of these muggings happen off campus where students could have guns on them,” yet many of them (including Monday) happen as students walk to and from campus. While it is legal to carry a gun off-campus, what do you propose that the student do with his gun once he reaches the imaginary line where carrying guns is no longer a good idea for him? Hide it in a bush?

Raelity Bites

December 6th, 2011
10:28 am

The laws that apply to the rest of the State of Georgia should also apply to the Tech campus. Get a permit to carry if you qualify, practice until you are confident with your weapon, live safely ever after. Right now Tech students are sitting ducks and the crack heads a short drive away know it.

Sensationalistic

December 6th, 2011
10:30 am

Tech student here -

I got robbed in the 20 feet between my car and my front door while I lived in Home Park. Not listening to music, was looking around while I was walking to my house and got flashed a gun. There is no reason why it should have happened, but it did. Having a gun would not have helped since there were three of them. If I made a move, they probably would have shot me because they were not professionals and would have panicked.

It’s not that Home Park is full of students, it’s because of how awful it is compared to other parts of Westside. I highly suggest that anybody that says that “Students should be more aware” go to Home Park after 10pm. It’s not a fun place to be compared to your Buckhead, Little Five Points, Collier Hills, and Piedmont Park neighborhood.

I’ve been saying this for a while, and I will say it here…Put a community improvement tax on ALL the pizzas at Antico. EVERYDAY there are Range Rovers, Maseratis, and Porsches that come in and enjoy a 24 dollar pizzas. If people are willing to shell out that much money for a pizza, they should willing to help keep the same neighborhood safe.

Chip

December 6th, 2011
10:31 am

Superman, stun guns are prohibited by the same state law that prohibits guns. In addition, many non-students frequent campus as well. Third, I continue to believe that a 21-year old person who is licensed to carry a gun is equally mature and responsible about that ability whether or not he is a student, and whether or not he is on campus.