Jun 26, 2017 | Atlanta, GA
In anticipation of the July 1 implementation date for the new state law allowing licensed gun owners to carry weapons on public college campuses, Georgia Tech leaders held an information session with the campus community June 14.
Pat McKenna, vice president for Legal Affairs and Risk Management, and Robert Connolly, chief of the Georgia Tech Police Department, shared guidance from the University System of Georgia (USG) on the law and answered questions from the community.
The law states that weapons must be carried in a concealed manner, “in such a fashion that does not actively solicit the attention of others, and is not prominently, openly, and intentionally displayed except for purposes of defense of self or others.” The law applies to licensed Georgia gun owners who have obtained a permit to carry a concealed handgun and those from states with reciprocal gun laws.
Weapons are not to be carried in buildings or property used for intercollegiate athletic events, specifically stadiums, gymnasiums, and similar facilities. (For Georgia Tech, this includes the Campus Recreation Center.) This exemption applies to these facilities at all times, not only when athletic events are taking place.
Weapons will be allowed in tailgating areas outside of the sports facility, and in student recreation centers and similar facilities not used for intercollegiate games.
Weapons will not be allowed in faculty, staff, or administrative offices, including office suites, but will be allowed in hallways or common areas adjacent to an office that are not a part of the office or suite. Similarly, weapons are not allowed in preschool or childcare spaces, including any enclosed outdoor facilities separated by controlled access, but will be allowed in hallways, common lobby areas, or spaces adjacent to preschool or childcare spaces that are outside of the controlled access point and outside spaces that are not enclosed.
Guidance issued by the USG on May 24 states, “It will be the responsibility of those licenseholders who choose to carry handguns on campus to know the law and to understand where they can go while carrying. Institutions will not provide gun storage facilities or erect signs outside restricted areas.”
With the new law in place, dispatchers or officers will gather additional information when receiving calls about an individual with a weapon. Those making reports may be asked what type of weapon the individual has, whether the individual is displaying the weapon or has it drawn, and what else the individual is doing at the time to help officers respond accordingly.
GTPD will hold additional information sessions in the future and will also conduct evaluations of spaces to determine how the law applies and how to make the area more secure. Submit an evaluation request at police.gatech.edu/campuscarry. Additional information will continue to be shared there, as well as by the USG at usg.edu/hb280.