A state lawmaker wants college students to be able to arm themselves on campus.
State Rep. Sean Jerguson (R-Holly Springs) said gun-free zones, such as college campuses, are a breeding ground for criminals because they know students are not armed.
“[They’re] the first place these predators will go because they know they won't be confronted," Jerguson told Channel 2 political reporter Lori Geary.
Jerguson said he'll likely amend an existing gun bill already in committee from last session, the Georgia Constitutional Carry Act of 2012, to allow guns on college campuses. He said there would still be restrictions on who can carry.
“We're not talking about all students being able to have a firearm on campus. These are students over the age of 21, who have concealed permits, that have been fingerprinted and have had background checks,” he said.
Last week, a group of Georgia Tech students rallied for gun rights. The demonstration came amid a string of violent attacks on or near the campus. Atlanta police have joined Tech officers in patrolling the area, but some say more needs to be done.
“These are students that are standing up and saying, ‘Hey, we need to address the situation,’” Jerguson said.
Supporters said students can handle the responsibility.
“From my experience, the people who have concealed carry licenses are the most responsible people,” a student told Geary.
But others are not so sure.
“Adding guns to campus is like putting grease on the fire,” another student said.
Georgia’s university system defends the current rules in place.
"We feel that the current law best protects our students, faculty and staff and supports the teaching, research and service mission we are charged with conducting," the state Board of Regents said in a statement.
Critics have also said Jerguson, who owns a gun store and shooting range in Holly Springs, has a conflict of interest. Jerguson said his measure is about student safety.
“This doesn't drive sales or increase business. What it does allow is for individuals to protect themselves,” he said.