Starting in July, licensed gun owners, age 21 and older, will be able to carry concealed weapons on Georgia's public college campuses.
University of Georgia freshman Parrish McWhorter, who is a double major in women’s studies and printmaking, said she’s been involved in protests against "campus carry" and had called Gov. Nathan Deal’s office every day in protest.
“I definitely don’t feel safe having guns around my campus,” McWhorter said. “Once you add the element of allowing other students to be responsible for firearms, that's not welcoming to some people.”
She was already thinking of transferring to an all-women’s school in Massachusetts and the added element of guns on campus has added another reason to consider leaving.
“I’ve had a great year this year and thinking maybe I won’t [transfer], but this adds a new element,” she said. “I’m not super interested to see where this year goes with guns on campuses.”
21-year-old UGA junior Will Dasher said he’s happy that the Georgia Senate constructed a more passable bill.
He pointed to the mass shootings that have occurred on college campuses to back up why he supports "campus carry."
“I think that it's a right that a student should have while they're on their campus,” he said. “They should be able to defend themselves.”
Dasher said he does agree with some of the bill’s regulations – like where guns can be toted and who can conceal carry on campus. He said he believes the bill is more defensive than offensive.
“There are more situations to not use [a gun] than to use it,” he said.
Dasher, who is an education major, meets the requirements to carry on campus. But since he’ll be spending most of his time in high school classrooms in the upcoming school year, he won’t be able to carry often.
“If it’s finals time and I’m going to a campus to study at 11 at night and I park a half a mile from the study center, then yeah, I’m probably going to carry,” he said.
Public colleges and universities have a little less than two months to hash out how they plan to implement the new law.