This Incisive Sign Raises An Important Point About Guns On College Campuses

Should you have the right to bear arms while studying?

The gun control debate has been going on for decades and will most likely rage on for years to come, but one sign is raising an important point about the presence of guns on college campuses.

Gun laws vary from state to state, and back in May, Georgia joined ten other states in permitting students and faculty to carry handguns on the campuses of public colleges and universities, though a handful of restrictions (ie. no guns at campus childcare facilities or in disciplinary meetings) do apply. 

Though Georgia Governor Nathan Deal had previously stated he doesn't think guns should be allowed on college campuses because said institutions are "sanctuaries of learning," he reversed his thinking in a matter of months and signed the concealed carry bill — also known as HB 280 — into law on March 31. It went into effect on July 1.

Such legislation is what reportedly prompted one person at the University of Georgia to post a sign highlighting the ridiculousness of the law. Said sign, which quickly gained popularity on Reddit earlier this week, is reportedly posted on the door to a science lab, and, although A Plus was not able to verify its location by press time, the debate it sparked is itself worth of report.

The sign features pictures of what is and is not allowed in the lab "in the interest of personal safety."

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Since the lab likely contains potentially dangerous chemicals that could be harmful to bare skin, short skirts, open-toed sandals, shorts, and flip-flops are all prohibited. Any variety of handgun, however, the sign suggests, is allowed inside.

The sign started a debate on Reddit not unlike the one that often plays out on the national stage. To some, guns on campus meant protection against a possible mass shooting, while others argued firearms in the hands of young, sometimes disgruntled students only lead to more violence.

When Deal signed the measure earlier this year, he argued permitting students to carry guns could help those going to or from a campus and may have to travel through "dangerous territory."

"At the present time, assailants can, and do, target these students knowing full well that their victims are not permitted to carry protection, even those who are weapons carry license holders, because they are either going to or coming from a campus where no weapons are allowed," Deal stated, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Still, critics of Georgia's concealed carry law argue that it is "reckless" and was passed with no input from faculty or campus police. "[The law] does not take into account some things, like laboratories and other sensitive places on campus where guns should not be permitted," Andy Pelosi, executive director of The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, told ATTN:. "Legislators just rammed this legislation through without any real thought about the practical consequences and how it should be implemented."

And according to research, had faculty, students, and others been consulted before passage of the law, legislators might have found people didn't want it. As noted by ATTN:, A 2017 study found that an overwhelming majority — or 70 percent — of university faculty objected to allowing gun owners "to carry concealed weapons on campus." 70 percent of university faculty opposed allowing licensed gun owners "to carry concealed weapons on campus." Half of faculty cited in the study believed that their "ability to effectively teach controversial or emotionally charged topics will be negatively impacted" with guns on campus.

Furthermore, the argument frequently championed concealed carry advocates (and Gov. Deal) that good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns has been disproven time and again. A recent FBI report detailing 160 active shooting incidents from 2000-2013 found only one incident was thwarted by a concealed carry permit holder. The holder also happened to be a Marine. By comparison, the report found 21 active shooters were stopped by unarmed citizens.

Though the sign was meant to be cheeky, here's hoping it starts a meaningful dialogue about carrying guns on campus.

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