Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Campus Carry

The Georgia legislature is inching its way toward another campus carry law, which would allow people 21 years or older to carry a concealed weapon on university campuses. I'm not writing here to argue one way or another, but instead to get a sense of what this means numerically if it passes and the governor signs it into law.

Let's start with UGA students. From what I see in the most recent numbers, there are 16,279 students at the university who are under 21 years old and 20,295 students who are 21 years or older. In other words, about 55.5 percent of all UGA students (undergrads and grads) would technically qualify for the 21 years or older requirement to get a concealed weapon permit (assuming they meet the other criteria).

OK, but how many will actually do it?

Who has a concealed weapon permit is not a public record in Georgia, but I did ask how many there are. For this year, about 330 permits have been either approved or renewed in Athens-Clarke, according to a county official. Doing some rough math in my head or on the back of a soiled napkin I see that's about 0.3 percent of all potential residents. Of course a higher percentage if we look at those 21 or older in Clarke County. Here's the page that describes the process, which will run you about 75 bucks through Probate Court.

More likely to me is students will not bother with a permit, thinking campus carry means just that, you can carry, but not bothering with the expense and background check and actually having to walk downtown to the courthouse and fill out this form, which kinda goes on forever. Even if only 1 percent of qualified UGA students request and receive a conceal permit (which is probably what it roughly is for the entire county, but again that's a rough guestimate), that's still about 203 students packing heat, not to mention the less-informed students who may end up thinking they can carry without a permit.

So, bad math and all, I'd expect passage of campus carry to result in a couple hundred students legally carrying a concealed firearm on campus and I suspect a few other doing so illegally. It could be higher, especially if it passes and it becomes a thing, at least at first, among some students.

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