The Sunday AJC revisits two education-related topics that have inspired a lot of comments here on the blog this week; There is an excellent piece on the culture of hazing at Florida A&M University. (See earlier blog on FAMU.)
Today’s guns on campus AJC piece features a pro/con on the issue.
Speaking for the pro is Jason Shepherd, 36, general counsel, Young Republican National Federation, and former political aide to Newt Gingrich.
From the story:
The way Jason Shepherd sees it, college students are easy marks for criminals. They carry cash, laptops, iPods, expensive smartphones. And they are unarmed. “It sends an open message to the criminal element of Atlanta: Come. Here are easy pickings,” he said. “If you go onto a college campus, with the exception of campus police, you are going to be looking at a completely unarmed and helpless group of people.
“I think it’s an issue both parents and policy-makers really need to be concerned about.”
Shepherd said new legislation should be passed to allow students to bring guns on college campuses. And parents should consider gun safety training for their high school-aged children before they send them off to college.
“We are not really talking about kids; we are talking about young adults,” Shepherd said. “If they join the Army or any of the armed forces, they are going to be given a gun. In Georgia, there is a history and culture of hunting and sportsmanship. A lot of kids who are native to Georgia have grown up with the understanding that guns are a tool and not a toy and they need to be treated with respect, as something that is potentially dangerous.
And representing the con is Frank V. Rotondo, 62, executive director, Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.
From the story:
“The reality is, you can get a permit in Georgia if you’re 84 years of age and blind,” Rotondo said. “That’s true.” Rotondo said before co-eds begin toting guns across campus, Georgia needs to make its gun permit process more rigorous.
“The one thing that the permit statutes don’t do is [require] a professional exam,” he said. “I would relax a lot more if, in order to obtain a permit in Georgia, you have to pass a firearm safety program and a proficiency program.”
Rotondo said after that requirement, the decision could be left up to the universities to decide whether to allow guns, and to parents to decide whether to send their teens to schools that allow weapons in dorms.
“We all have to be very aware that most of the students on campus are under the age of 21, which would be under the legal age to receive a permit,” he said. “Often campus rooms are shared rooms with a lot of freedom. There is a slight degree of probability that a weapon may be taken from a room. … You have to worry about the ingestion of alcohol. There is a high correlation of people going to undergraduate school and drinking.”
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog