DSC students disagree on 'campus carry'

Dalton State College student Rick Williams said it's not hard to imagine a gunman suddenly attacking the campus because he's seen so much news footage of the same on other college campuses.

What's is hard to imagine, he said, is how people might react.

"I support gun rights and all that, but I just don't know if a bunch of students running around with guns would really help out," said Williams, referring to the "campus carry" law passed by the state Legislature that is now before Gov. Nathan Deal.

House Bill 280 would allow those 21 and older who have a concealed weapon permit to take guns onto public college and university campuses. Exceptions where guns would be banned include dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses, and buildings used for athletic events, as well as on-campus child care centers and anywhere high school students would be attending class. The bill also includes a provision that would bar guns from the offices of professors or instructors, a detail that was added at Deal's request after he vetoed a similar bill last year.

Williams, who said he owns guns and is a hunter, probably won't carry a weapon on campus if Deal does sign the bill into law.

"I just don't see how it would be a good idea. If, God forbid, something bad did happen, I think my first instinct would be to run for cover, hide. I don't know. As just a normal person or whatever, you can't really know what you would do," said Williams. "Most people can't say they wouldn't accidentally shoot themselves or somebody else when it's literally a life-or-death thing."

Criminal justice major Keelyn Roberts wrote a paper about guns recently, her argument being that more guns widespread among the populace will not make society safer. This applies to college campuses, as well, she said.

"I think it shouldn't happen," said Roberts of the potential new law. "Some people act on instinct and don't think about the lasting consequences of their actions."

She worries that the bill if approved would make it easier for people to target educators they are upset with, and that the requirements for a concealed carry permit would make it too easy for people to have guns on campus.

Twin sisters Taylor and Tori Hufstetler have different opinions about HB 280, with Tori seeing some potential benefits of the bill and Taylor being completely against it.

Tori, a math major, said, "I am kind of in-between. I think it would make it more safe, but at the same time it would be less safe. But at the same time I think you should have to go through heavy background checks before you can even get a gun, because people are crazy. I don't know, I think I would feel more protected if more people had a gun, as long as they were qualified."

Taylor would not welcome more guns on campus.

"I think I would feel less safe if everyone on campus were carrying guns," she said, before adding something she agrees with her twin about, "because people are crazy."

Marissa Metcalf, a business major and a social worker, said her concern is that the proposed law would make it too easy for people to make hasty decisions based on emotional or stressful situations.

"I think it's a bad idea because if someone gets mad, they could just pull out a gun and shoot them," she said. "You can't really help that if it's legal to have a gun here."

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