This editorial was written in The Brunswick News on July 11.
When the fall semester kicks off at College of Coastal Georgia, it, like other campuses around the state, could be welcoming a few new additions to campus — guns.
The campus carry bill, otherwise known as HB 280, went into effect July 1, making it legal for people on campus to carry concealed weapons almost everywhere they go.
Feelings about the law vary greatly. Some don't believe guns have any place on a college campus. Others believe guns should be allowed anywhere people licensed to carry them are. With the spate of mass shootings at colleges and schools in recent years, many people see having an armed student body and faculty as a first line of defense against a would-be attacker.
While we think it seems unnecessary for students, professors or visitors to campus to bring their weapons with them, the new law now protects their right to do so. We hope no one ever knows who is carrying a gun on campus and who is not, because if discovered, the circumstances are not likely to be pleasant.
Guns may never make an appearance at College of Coastal Georgia. We hope they are never fired and that whoever is carrying them never feels the need to use them.
We also applaud the campus police force and Chief Bryan Sipe for taking the necessary steps to educate the public, the student body and the faculty about the new law and where on campus guns are allowed and where there are exceptions to the law.
Most gun owners are responsible and we hope those who plan to bring their weapons to class have done their homework, especially since their own campus police department is doing the due diligence to educate them about the new rules.
Anyone carrying on campus should remember their guns are not allowed in the residence halls, at athletic events, administration buildings and dual enrollment classes high school students may be taking. These are key exceptions the campus carry law that are reasonable and must be observed.
As it is with gun ownership, personal responsibility will be key to ensuring our now gun-friendly local college campus remains safe. We encourage anyone planning to bring their gun to College of Coastal Georgia to attend the next informational meeting hosted by the campus police department at 10 a.m., July 19 on campus at the Stembler Theatre.