On Monday, REM frontman and Bernie Sanders backer Michael Stipe penned a op-ed pleading for Georgia Republican Gov. Nathan Deal to veto a bill that will allow concealed carry permit holders to carry guns on campus for self-defense.
Criminals already carry guns on campus. We saw it at Virginia Tech University in 2007, at Umpqua Community College in Oregon in 2015, and more recently in the state of the Georgia, where two were shot on the Georgia State University campus on March 21.
The lesson from these and numerous other on-campus incidents is that “gun free zones” are gun free for law-abiding citizens but are target rich environments for criminals. So Georgia Republicans acted to allow law-abiding citizens to defend themselves via campus carry legislation (HB 859), and the bill now sits on Governor Deal’s desk.
Stipe’s op-ed in USA Today pled Deal to veto the self-defense legislation. Far from acknowledging the myriad examples that guns are already on campuses — in the hands of criminals — Stipe painted a picture of campuses as actual gun-free environments where armed concealed carry permit holders will make campuses riskier environments, rather than safer ones.
For us and for so many others, college is this incredible moment when you get to make mistakes and learn from them. You start becoming an adult. You get to delve into what you love and get obsessed with it. You go to parties and drink too much. You fall asleep in the library and wake up hours before a paper is due. We all have our own versions of these stories. We all know the crazy things we did in college. Some moments we regret and others become the stories we tell time and again.
Like many other Georgians, I am worried about how guns on campus would affect college life. I worry about what it means when loaded guns are allowed at a tailgate where alcohol is being served. I’m concerned for survivors of sexual assault, who may soon have to face an armed assailant at the time of the crime and again at their disciplinary hearing.
Stipe and others who oppose concealed carry permit holders being armed for self-defense would do well to read up on the campus carry experience in other states. For example, Colorado has had campus carry since 2003 and to date there have been no mass shootings nor crimes by permit holders.
Opponents of guns on campus for self-defense would also do well to read Amanda Collins testimony about being raped on the University of Nevada campus in Reno. Breitbart News previously reported that Collins had a concealed carry permit but was not allowed to carry her gun on campus for self-defense because of “gun free” laws. As a result, she was defenseless when assaulted and raped within plain sight of the university police building on October 22, 2007.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.