Current law already permits those students to have concealed guns in their vehicles.
State Rep. Sean Jerguson (R-Holly Springs) said his amendment would only apply to licensed concealed gun owners who are over the age of 21.
The legislator said he was propelled to consider the amendment after recent incidents on two college campuses in Atlanta.
“I think it’s an appropriate situation … so they can be able to protect themselves from the predators we are seeing,” he said, referring to the recent incidents in which Georgia Tech and Georgia State University students have been robbed at gunpoint.
Jerguson said he hasn’t determined when he will introduce the amendment, or whether it would apply to Georgia’s public or private colleges, or both.
Jerguson’s plans have drawn criticism from local colleges.
Reinhardt University President Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood said the presence of guns on campus would not enhance the safety of students, faculty and staff.
“We rely on the training and good judgment of our public safety officers and the personnel of the Cherokee County sheriff’s (office) for our safety and protection,” he said.
Dr. Roger Lee, vice president of student affairs at Reinhardt, said the university’s policy doesn’t allow students to bring weapons of any kind on campus, which could include storing or possessing weapons with or without permits.
“Our campus is guided by a code of conduct that places responsible decision-making regarding all infractions with competent and trained personnel,” he said.
Chattahoochee Technical College Public Relations Specialist Rebecca Long said the college also has concerns over the proposal when it comes to the safety of its students, faculty and staff.
“Bringing guns into classrooms creates enormous problems for law enforcement, most especially the campus public safety officers who would be the first to respond to any incident,” she said. “Allowing weapons on campus adds an enormous level of uncertainty for our officers, as they must ascertain who is the aggressor in a situation to proceed safely. This becomes cloudy when multiple people are armed.”
Technical College System of Georgia spokesman Mike Light said the system, which oversees Chattahoochee Tech, said instances of crime on its campuses are low, which he said could be attributed to the current law “that only law enforcement personnel can carry a gun on campus.”
Jerguson said the critics of his position like to point out that students will be running around campuses with guns, and that’s “absolutely false.”
Jerguson said policymakers went through a similar debate when the Georgia General Assembly was considering a bill to allow licenses carriers to bring their guns to bars and restaurants.
He said there have been zero instances in the state in which people have been shot or killed by gun fire in bars or restaurants.
Jerguson said the vast majority of permit holders by their nature are individuals who believe in the second amendment and “are very, very proactive in ensuring their rights are protected.”
He also said licensed carriers who commit a crime lose their right to bear arms.
“It’s important to make that understood,” he said. “We’re not talking about every person on campus.”