Chancellor: Keep guns off Georgia’s college campuses

Should Georgia allow guns on its college campuses? (AJC file photo)

Should Georgia allow guns on its college campuses? (AJC file photo)

Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby spoke in opposition today to House Bill 512, which would comprehensively sweep away most restrictions on carrying firearms in Georgia, including on college campuses, on public school grounds and in churches.

Contrary to other states where the debate has shifted to restricting guns in the wake of the Newtown school massacre, many of two dozen gun bills filed in the Georgia Legislature aim to expand firearms access and reach.

Many educational leaders are concerned with bills allowing guns in schools and on campuses.

Here is Huckaby’s official statement from today’s hearing on HB 512:

I appear before you today as the chancellor of the University System of Georgia – a system of 31 institutions with 314,000 students and over 40,000 faculty and staff members. But I am also a father, and grandfather. I am a gun owner with many lifelong friends who are gun owners and hunters. Like many of you, therefore, I have experience with guns, and kids, and grandkids.

Guns do not frighten me and I do not demonize them, or their owners. I believe in the Second Amendment.

But in the matter before us, I realize and acknowledge that you may see this issue very differently than me. In my position I believe strongly that allowing our students to carry weapons on our campuses will not increase their personal safety but instead reduce it.

I have spent a significant part of my career working on college campuses. I have served in the administrations at both smaller institutions and this state’s flagship. I can tell you I have seen it all while there, and my experience tells me that for our students and the availability of guns will not increase their safety.

Each of the police chiefs of our campuses agree with me. They are charged with keeping the public safety on our campuses, and they will tell you allowing students to have weapons on campus make their jobs harder, not easier; more dangerous, not safer.

Our campus counselors will likely tell you the same thing. The reality of our modern campuses is we have students who come to us with a variety of personal issues, which create stress; they are on medications.

Many develop issues after coming to our campuses. I am not suggesting that every student is a ticking time bomb – far from it. I am suggesting that adding loaded weapons to an already potentially volatile mix of youthful exuberance, stress, and yes, at times alcohol and other factors, could lead to a tragedy of our own making that we could otherwise avoid.

Georgia law already goes further than many states that have passed concealed carry laws. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 23 states the decision to ban or allow concealed carry weapons on campuses is made by each college or university individually – and from the calls we have made, the states are consistent in implementing policy which keeps guns in the hands of only their law enforcement. In Georgia, we permit a concealed carry holder to keep their weapon locked in their car – which the Supreme Court considers an extension of one’s domicile.

To those of you who believe strongly in this bill, I say I respect your views, and your right to hold them. You deal with very few simple issues, and I understand that. I am confident that you are motivated, as I am, by a desire to ensure that our campuses are as safe as we can possibly make them.

I am not sure there is anything I can say to you today to convince you that the provisions in this bill will be detrimental to campus safety. So let me conclude by saying unequivocally the Board of Regents, my administration, our 31 Presidents and their campus security chiefs all believe current law makes our campuses safe, and I sincerely plead that you keep it in place.

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

96 comments Add your comment


March 4th, 2013
7:41 pm

Mass killings seem to occur primarily in schools, universities, and churches. All 3 of them are typically “gun free zones”. But of course there is NO CORRELATION between the two…..NONE!!


March 4th, 2013
7:59 pm

Interesting that the Georgia legislature is considering more gun bills than ones related to improving education.

As an RA, nothing would have worried me more than wondering if some impaired dorm rat had a weapon. Keeping college campuses gun free zones my not stop the freakish terror of a mass killing, but they will keep schools from turning into the OK corral.

Truth Today

March 4th, 2013
8:03 pm

Democracy is too tiring. At the rate we are going, let’s just take guns everyone regardless of the venue. That would be a true embracing of our second amendment rights. I believe the Christian Bible shares that living by the sword will cause death by the sword. We really have it coming as a state and nation if we do not make balanced decisions about gun rights. The zealots are taking this issue too far without regard for what is in the best interest of all, especially our children.

Boris Badnoff

March 4th, 2013
8:15 pm

College officials don’t like to admit it but there is a great deal of drinking going on at frat parties, etc. Guns and alcohol don’t mix. Of course there would be fewer armed robberies if the students were armed. But there will be more shot in drunken revelry. What’s needed is more police presence working on crime prevention.

Carter Thompson

March 4th, 2013
8:18 pm

The only person in the State that has some intelligence on this issue. GA’s economy, public policy, schools…. etc are 200 years out of date from the rest of the country. The rest of the world looks at us and think we are a bunch of ignorant rednecks…I certainly can see why.


March 4th, 2013
8:19 pm

Nothing like putting guns in the hands of a bunch of immature, hot headed college kids to improve safety!!! While other states are trying to find ways to limit guns in the hands of kids and lunatics, our legislators want to make our state the wild, wild west. Why do we keep electing these same idiots to office over and over again? The legislature has cut billions of dollars from public education in the last 10 years in a state that is already at the bottom of the heap in terms of educational attainment, but their answer to improving education is to arm 18 year olds. God help us!


March 4th, 2013
8:20 pm

The presence of unregulated guns should be met with resistance everywhere. On average guns killed 88 Americans and injured 202 each day during 2011 (N Engl J Med 2013:368:397-399). When available, it is estimated that firearm homicides and suicides in 2012 will exceed motor vehicle fatalities – mostly college age males. With less than 5 percent of the world’s population, we now own 40 percent of all firearms in civilian hands. (N Engl J Med 2013:368:397-399) Are they WELL REGULATED as prescribed by the Second Amendment? Obviously not. Gun owners are statistically, significantly more likely to commit murder and to eventually commit suicide (Univ Penn LDI Issue Brief 2003;8(8), 1-4). If guns cause more human damage than automobiles then funds of equivalent amounts should be devoted to registration of each weapon, licensure on one’s birthday, a psychological screening test (MMPI), a practical operation test, and a written test of the weapons laws. Prior behavior predicts the likelihood of committing gun violence. Federal law prohibits felons and those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from possession of a firearm, but it allows those convicted of assault and battery, brandishing a weapon, and those making open threats of violence (New York Times, 2/24/2013). That must be corrected. Federal law prohibits purchase by an abuser of controlled substances but allows alcohol abusers to purchase guns. That must be corrected. Where else is more alcohol consumed, than by college students?


March 4th, 2013
8:26 pm

Yeah, wouldn’t want college kids to be able to actually defend themselves. Much better to call the police or ambulance after they are shot or raped


March 4th, 2013
8:31 pm

How about guns in the Capitol Building? Bet they are not applying the Second Amendment there.

bootney farnsworth

March 4th, 2013
8:50 pm

@ USC 69

what a pantload. I got one word for you: Chicago

bootney farnsworth

March 4th, 2013
8:51 pm

@ boris

driving and booze don’t mix, either. shall we ban driving?

bootney farnsworth

March 4th, 2013
8:53 pm

what’s funny is most of the idiots posting seem to think they are not there already.


March 4th, 2013
9:04 pm

I Say, Let them BRING THEIR GUNS ON CAMPUS! Allow these students to ARM themselves to the TEETH! Allow them to bring as much Fire Power and High Velocity Piercing ammunition as they can carry.

On the Day of Mass Destruction of the INNOCENTS, Stand BY’s, and the senseless Collateral Damage of those enroute to class or home or to the Library. Then and only then will we see the UNWISESNESS of such a LEGISLATION.

Unfortunately, those who will be caught in such Mindless Madness are among US Now. They are undiscovered, hidden and remotely considered. Its cause will be born from an array of social ills. The Dead, will have no recourse, no trial, no inquest, no inquiry, No right to a fair trial and most of ALL NO APPEAL of any kind. They will only suffer the fate of the depths of the PIT with Eternal Darkness being their Future.

As for those of us who were lucky enough to avoid such carnage, will move on quietly with their lives with very little time of reflection or real concern.

The families, Parents, Brothers, Sisters of the deceased will be haunted with the questions of WHY?

They are the one’s who will be left to carry this BURDEN on BEHALF of ALL of US.

Parents take a look into your child’s eys tonight! Look deeply and think!

Are you prepared to give up their futures, their Lives at the hands of a Mentally ill individual, who have been given the RIGHT to bring such DEATH & DESTRUCTION to your Doorstep?

This decision will more than likely and with a high probability to bring such an ACT to some unlucky families among US as a result of its passage. We still have time to say NO! This is NOT WISE!

Those among US who introduced House Bill 512, have not seriously considered the true WISDOM of their Legislation and the potenial Pain that it will bring on many families. These Individual legislators assume callously they or their family members will not fall victim to such an heinous act as result of their introduction.

As for ME, I hope and pray that it is not a member of MY Family, that will get the DREADFUL news of THAT DAY! as a result of their ARROGANT IGNORANCE!


March 4th, 2013
9:16 pm

Only if Georgia legislators allow guns in all areas in the Gold dome. To quote our spineless shady dealing (term loosely used) Governor “”I guess its ok.”"

we do not need more useless unenforced laws, enforce the ones we have. I agree the police need to work more on crime prevention and less on writing TICKETS.

Georgia needs better Education for our children, they deserve better than 48th place in education.

Just Sayin

March 4th, 2013
9:22 pm

While I believe in the a person having a right to defend him or herself, I don’t think colleg campuses are generally the place for it. There is A LOT of drinking on college campuses and I feel that adding guns into the mix just amps up the probability that someone will get shot. I am not naive and I know that some kids probably already have them, but the truth is they are less likely to pull them out if they know they aren’t suppose to have them whereas if everyone is allowed one what do you think the first action will be. You all know that if a person believes they are in danger and have a weapon, then they will pull theirs and shoot. This means that now everyone is on a hair trigger anticipating the need to pull their weapon in any and all confrontational situations. College kids do monumentally stupid stuff al the time (alcohol enemas anyone (sp?))….now add about 10 to 15 loaded guns to it.


March 4th, 2013
9:25 pm

My daughter was at NIU during their mass shooting. The lunatic had time to stop, reload, and kill more innocent kids, because no one could take him out. One of her friends died while shielding his girlfriend. One student or prof with a gun would’ve saved many kids lives that day.

It completely amaze me that the same folks who scream about protecting a right that had to be “found” in the constitution (privacy) and leads to the death of millions a year, turn around and want to kill a right that is clearly in the constitution that at worst leads to a few thousand deaths, and likely nets out to positive by allowing people to protect themselves. Total and complete hypocrites

Pete E. Tong

March 4th, 2013
9:27 pm

This bill literally just passed it’s first committee by a huge margin. 12 – 3.

GSU Graduate

March 4th, 2013
9:27 pm

If they have a conceal carry permit they should understand that alcohol is not allowed while carrying. I would not recommend a dorm dweller to be able to keep is weapon at the dorm unless some kind of security system could be established to keep it very safe when it is out of his site. Conceal carry on campus could be a good thing if done properly. If the person has mental health issues he should not have a conceal carry permit anyway. That should be reported and his permit revoked until it is deamed the person is mentally sound. They are right to be cautious, but it could serve them well if implemented properly.


March 4th, 2013
9:41 pm

@ GSUGRAD what is this “conceal carry permit” you speak of? How to mental health professionals report someone’s condition? I will hang up and listen


March 4th, 2013
9:44 pm

It’s like how they shouldn’t allow guns in airports. An accidental discharge of a gun in the public area of an airport, where fuel and planes are just a few hundred yards away, is the worst example of irresponsibility I can think of. People with guns are idiots. Guns just go off sometimes. Idiots with guns increase the probability of a gun just going off around all that fuel by a factor of a quadrillion. College students at spring break. Imagine college girls gone wild with their two .38s on spring break. Then imagine those same babes pulling out a gun. No, the likelihood of getting pistol whipped on the beach at midnight during a beer bong party is just too great. We just can’t risk it.

It’s like when women invented the sports bra by sewing two jock straps together (true). Where was the supervision? It wasn’t there then, and it most certainly is not there now. And we’re gonna give unsupervised college girls gone wild guns?

I don’t think so. I mean come on. Sometimes I wonder if the founding fathers every met college girls.


March 4th, 2013
9:44 pm

Can’t speak for everyone, but as a graduate student who teaches three classes at Georgia State, I say leave the guns at home. The human brain’s ability to assess risk and think long-term isn’t fully formed until around age 25, and we have many students under age 25.

I personally would rather live in a civil society than the Wild, Wild West. Part of that means ceding some–*some*, not *all*–responsibility for our personal safety to the police. That’s why we have them.

Violence abounds

March 4th, 2013
9:51 pm

Nothing says big publicity like a mass shooting, and the best way to insure one happens is to make sure you create the kind of environment in which a shooter knows he/she will face no opposition shooters. Gun-free zones do exactly that. Every human being deserves the right to protect their own life. Government does not have the right to take that away from anyone.


March 4th, 2013
9:52 pm

@ Georgia –firearms are allowed in the ATL airport

Bill R.

March 4th, 2013
10:03 pm

Allowing guns doesn’t mean students will in fact go out and buy guns. Most do not care for guns. Those who want to allow guns on campus are but a small minority of students.

If only the pro-gun people cared about tight college budgets as much as they did allowing guns on campus.


March 4th, 2013
10:25 pm

I love how everyone brings up Chicago whenever there is a gun debate. Yes there are shootings here, but I’ve never been the victim of any crime here. Whereas in Atlanta, I was robbed, my car was stolen, and I was the victim of a hit and run. Try looking beyond the headlines when it comes Chicago and gun violence, it’s really a lovely and safe city.


March 4th, 2013
10:26 pm

A few years ago, the CDC reported that in an armed confrontation with a criminal you were more likely to be killed if you displayed a gun. “Proecting yourself” under these circumstances is a fantasy. Why would we want students to get themselves killed? Or worse, George Zimmerman themselves? Guns are not toys and trouble follows them everywhere.

Pete E. Tong

March 4th, 2013
10:27 pm

“they should understand that alcohol is not allowed while carrying”

No such law. Feel free to cite the OCGA number if you can find it.

Pete E. Tong

March 4th, 2013
10:29 pm

“A few years ago, the CDC reported that in an armed confrontation with a criminal you were more likely to be killed if you displayed a gun. ”

Cite please.

I dropped my fried twinkie

March 4th, 2013
10:30 pm

Let us hope the representatives do the right thing and pass this in to law.

Georgia Tech Students for Concealed Carry on Campus
HB 512 passed in committee today! We hope to pass Rules shortly for a floor vote on Thursday in the house. Please contact your representative if you haven’t already. Campus carry could shortly become a reality in Georgia.

21 year olds can be in the army so why can’t they carry a gun on campus?

I dropped my fried twinkie

March 4th, 2013
10:38 pm

PET….I think they mean you can’t have a gun in a BAR and just messed up trying to say that.

I dropped my fried twinkie

March 4th, 2013
11:16 pm

Chancellor………stop the Crime on campus and the guns wouldn’t be needed.

I dropped my fried twinkie

March 4th, 2013
11:19 pm

Truth in Moderation………..that might stop a lot of people from becoming COPS in the future too.

Thomas Pain

March 5th, 2013
12:08 am

All the doom and gloom folks seem to be missing one important fact:

There are several states in the USA where college students, faculty, and visitors who are legally allowed to carry gun can do so.

And they don’t have all the problems that being forecast by the people who are afraid of guns.

In fact, none of those states has had a mass shooting at a school either.

One clever poster mentioned that he was an RA and that he would be afraid of dorm rats with guns. But if a dorm rat really wanted to do harm, would a sign on the door or another law stop them? The only people that these laws inconvenience are the law abiding, because by definition, they are the only ones that will refuse to carry in places where it’s illegal. The criminals will do whatever they want regardless of the law, that’s the very definition of a criminal.

My daughter goes to a school in a state where carry by honest, law abiding people on a college campus is not illegal. If I thought it was a problem, and it’s not, she wouldn’t be going there. But the reality is that her school is safer than Georgia Tech.


March 5th, 2013
12:30 am

The unfortunate truth of the gun control debate is something that no one wants to hear, and no politician on either side will ever admit: there is no perfect solution.

If law-abiding citizens are not allowed to own and/or carry guns, they become sitting ducks, especially on campuses and in churches. Bad people will still find ways to get guns, and they will be even more bold because they can be reasonably sure that their victims are unarmed.

If people have unrestricted access to guns and are free to carry them everywhere, there will be more accidental shootings and violent escalation of conflicts.

It seems to me that both sides of this debate are being unrealistic in how they present the issue to the public. They want us to believe that, if we agree with them and help them push their agenda, all the gun-related crime in this country will stop. I think it’s time for people to grow up and admit that neither side can actually deliver that kind of peace, and every possible ’solution’ has some sort of cost attached.


March 5th, 2013
1:03 am

If there wasn’t going to ever be any controversy to the issue, the Founding Fathers wouldn’t have needed to enshrine the RIGHT in the Bill of Rights.

And to you morons that talk about the Second Amendment only relating to people in “a well regulated militia” I ask you this;

Read this paragraph;

“A well-regulated educational system being necessary for the enlightenment of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear books shall not be infringed.”

Does this mean to you that only people attending school have the right to own books? If you say yes you are delusional and beyond reason.


March 5th, 2013
2:43 am

I work on a college campus. I have lost count of the number of students and parents who come to us in every disrespectful and belligerent manner, I have had students and parents, not only curse me in the most vile manner to those who curse and attempt to get behind our serving area. When it gets out of hand, we have someone in the back offices to call campus police and try not to engage the student until the police arrive. Up until now, when the offenders see the officers with the gun at their sides, they quiet down. Now imagine that we have a student and, maybe, a parent and they are packing heat, The would not respect the police officer’s presence because they are just as armed as they are. Do we have to experience students and/parents shooting college personnel for someone to realize that guns on campus is a terrible idea? Today, a parent cursed me on the phone as if he knows me…downright disrespectful, rude and mean. What would have happened if he were in front of me with a gun? These students and parents do not care. If you are unable to give them what they want because of federal laws or the institutions policies, the worse come out of them.
This law makes all of us nervous. But trust and believe that going forward, I will cease any interaction with a student who begins to show out. He/She will have to wait until there are at least two police officers in my presence. The job is not work an idiot trying to take my life for something that is almost always their fault.
I won’t even address the need for firearms in CHURCH? Come one…our legislators are DUMB!! Not trying to wish bad on anyone, but maybe this law needs to backfire on one in their family to understand how ridiculous they were!


March 5th, 2013
2:45 am

That should have been…BEFORE IT GETS OUT OF HAND…


March 5th, 2013
2:54 am

…Geesh, this site/format needs an edit or preview button;

The would not respect…should be “THEY would not respect”

the worse come out of them…should be “the worse COMES out of them”

The job is not work an idiot…should be “the job is not WORTH an idiot…”

…on one in their family to understand how ridiculous they were!…should be “on one of their family MEMBERS so that they can understand what an irresponsible law they passed.”

I am disgusted!

Hope those are all my errors!

Jack ®

March 5th, 2013
5:22 am

Allowing guns on campus is stupid on the face of it. More police and a lock-up room on campus makes sense.


March 5th, 2013
6:16 am

Student who qualify for a conceal/carry permit should be allow to conceal and carry.

It is not a requirement that Frat parties where drinking is going to occur will have gun-fights. Ummm, you know girls can conceal/carry too.
Then they can stay that, that is not a banana in my pocket.

Colleges do not ban sports cars or college football. There is a higher probablity that a college aged person will die or get injured in an car accident than a college shooting. There is also a higher probablility that a college football player will get injured that get shot.

Some people who attend college have been known to use illegal drugs. Banning illegal drug use has been an exercise in futility.

If some folks want to ban somthing, how about banning the situations that lead to these kinds of problems? Now thats not so easy you might say.

Ban Bullying! Teach self respect. Learn to deal with mental and emotional problems in people. If someone obvously need help, SAY something!


March 5th, 2013
6:48 am

I had a student “go off” in class two weeks ago. He is a young veteran with PTSD who is not having the easiest time getting reacclimated to civilian life. He is impulsive and wears his emotions on his sleeve. But he is also bright and articulate. To many observers he might look like someone to keep an eye on. As for me, I’m more worried about the students who have almost nothing to say in class and don’t seem to have any emotions.

But whether we are talking about veterans with issues or loners with issues, I sure hope we don’t allow them to bring guns into the classroom. They can already bring them on campus. And as others have pointed out, if the State Capitol is off limits as far as the Second Amendment is concerned, then so should be a lot of other places.


March 5th, 2013
6:54 am

As a retired professor at a state school …. do not allow guns on campus. Teachers are at the front of the room and make great targets. As to comments om 19 year olds being in the military …. except in war zones their weapons are kept locked up in arms rooms and are only carried while on training.


March 5th, 2013
7:27 am

Huckaby doesn’t address the obvious. Having a rule that prohibits students from having guns from campuses does not really prevent students or anyone else from having a gun on campus. These troubled students he is talking about, the ones on meds, can easily have a gun with them without regard to the rules.

Always Skeptical

March 5th, 2013
7:28 am

to PET: There may be no “law” directly relating to alcohol and concealed carry, but if you get caught driving while intoxicated and you are carrying, your concealed carry permit can be suspended. Same with getting caught intoxicated in an altercation and you are carrying concealed. The weapon does not need to be drawn, you put your concealed carry permit at risk. In most states, firearms are not permitted in drinking establishments. So no, there are no “laws” but there are consequences for carrying while intoxicated.
to everyone else: If someone is unbalanced enough to commit a mass shooting whether it’s a student with PTSD or just the “quiet” student, THEY WILL GET A FIREARM ANYWAY! You can take guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens, but you will never be able to control guns in the hands of criminals or anyone who is hell bent on causing harm to others. There are students who have grown up handling guns their entire lives and know and respect what they can do. Why limit their ability to defend themselves? Anyone who does not believe that firearms are already on college campuses is delusional. Do you think that drug dealers and gang bangers care about concealed carry permits? And yet they carry concealed anyway.


March 5th, 2013
7:34 am

Chancellor all the laws in the world will not keep a crazy person from carring a gun on campus and killing many people. What you want is to make all the other students sitting ducks!! As long as students with legal permits are not allowed to bring their guns on campus, the campus will always be open season for crazies. Because even crazy people do not want to shoot up somewhere that might shoot back. Chancellor you are putting thousands of innocent people at risk!

Pardon My Blog

March 5th, 2013
7:48 am

There is not a right or wrong answer to this one unfortunately. My child was at Virginia Tech and in class at the time Cho went on his rampage. Would armed students have minimized the loss of life? Hard to say, perhaps if the ROTC students had been armed maybe. Perhaps that tragedy never would have happened had the University been allowed to be made aware of his mental issues that stemed back to middle school.

The reality on a college campus is there is alot of drinking, drug use and pressure. Some handle it better than others and a perfectly normal kid could snap.

Mountain Man

March 5th, 2013
7:49 am

When I was at UGA, my girlfriend (later my wife) was having problems with an ex-boyfriend, who was threatening to kill her and then kill himself. We were looking seriously at getting a gun for her (she lived in a dorm). I lived off-campus and I had a gun for protection.

What is needed is a better system to ensure that guns do not end up in the hands of the wrong people. I have no qualms about guns in the hands of sane, rational, well-trained people.

Mountain Man

March 5th, 2013
7:54 am

“The reality on a college campus is there is alot of drinking, drug use and pressure”

There CANNOT be a lot of drinking on campus! Most of the college students are not old enough to drink, and AS WE ALL KNOW, when you create a law, it immediately results in 100% compliance. That is why nobody has to fear anyone coming onto campus with a gun – there is a law against that, and laws are never broken. It is just like guns are never brought onto the Grady High School campus. That is becasue if a gun ever WAS brought onto that campus, the perpetrator would be immediately arrested, denied bond, and tried and sentenced to 10 years in jail (hysterical laughter follows…)


March 5th, 2013
8:18 am

@ Mountain Man, Guns are already allowed on campus in Georgia, but students must leave them in their cars. Trust me, I know. I spend a lot of time on a college campus and never forget that.


March 5th, 2013
8:43 am

Guns don’t kill people.

People WITH guns kill people.