By DAKOTA HUGHES
Canton, GA— Seven Georgia Tech students were robbed at gunpoint while in Atlanta near the end of September. Three men took the students’ phones, keys, credit cards and IDs. In the current debate over Georgia’s campus carry law, the question arises whether this would have happened had the students been armed.
Law enforcement officers see the campus carry law, which went into effect last summer, from two perspectives. Some favor the law, while others fear for the safety of students on campus. Some officers even feel that stricter gun-control policies will not control the inevitable.
“Gun-control policies will not eliminate the threat of future violence in the United States,” said Greg Clyburn, lieutenant commander of the Holly Springs Police Department. “This is made evident if you study the crime rate involving shootings in the cities with the most stringent gun-control laws, such as Chicago and New York City.
“Chicago has one of the most stringent gun-control laws in the nation, and yet they continue to be one of the highest gun-violence cities. The root of the problem is in the evil of people’s hearts. If a person decides to commit an act of atrocity, they will find a means and method to carry out their evil plan. Guns are not the issue, people are.”
According to the Gun Violence Archive for 2017, there have been 54,473 gun-related incidents. Of those incidents, 13,734 people were reported dead, and 27,971 people were injured. Children and teens aged 12-17 who were reported killed or injured made up 2,884 of those numbers. The archive also said 273 officers have been reported shot or killed.
“Gun-control policies do not restrict the criminal element from obtaining weapons, they restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Liz Prance, a deputy in the Cherokee County sheriff’s office. “History is filled with examples of people who desired to commit a crime, who would go to any means necessary to enable them to commit their acts.
“Gun control policies would not reduce the number of violent crimes, they would only decrease the number of armed citizens who would be able to react to a violent situation with equal force.”
On July 1, 2017, the Georgia Legislature passed a campus carry bill that would allow Georgia’s public colleges and universities to have guns on campus. Gov. Nathan Deal said in today’s time, assaulters target college students knowing they are not armed and cannot carry protection.
“I am in favor of the campus carry laws mainly because it is an individual’s constitutional right,” Clyburn said. “Also, what if there had been armed, law-abiding students in the building on that fateful day at Virginia Tech? I believe that if there had been, there would be far fewer grieving families today.”
Clyburn was referring to the mass shooting of 32 people on the Virginia Tech campus on April 16, 2007.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Georgia law bans guns from child-care facilities on campus, faculty and administrative offices as well as disciplinary meetings. U.S. News said Georgia joined nine other states in the passing of this legislation.
One of the arguments the Georgia Legislature considered involved the frequent robberies of students at the urban campuses of Georgia State and Georgia Tech. The September robbery of the seven Georgia Tech students was the third such student robbery that month.
“I see campus carry as a bad thing for those who have guns because how do we know if people are educated on guns and taking proper precaution when carrying”? Prance said. “I also know that guns and alcohol do not mix well, and a lot of drinking goes on at college campuses.
“Students would be safer without taking matters into their own hands and let law enforcement do its job when necessary.”