Guns on campus: Will college students seek conceal carry permits now?

Will more Georgia students seek conceal carry permits in the wake of a new state law allowing guns on public campuses? (AJC file)

Will more Georgia students seek conceal carry permits in the wake of a new state law allowing guns on public campuses? (AJC file)

When Georgia’s campus carry law was being debated in the Legislature this spring, some opponents suggested that allowing guns on college campuses may drive students who otherwise would not carry to get a carry permit.

How true is that now that the law went into effect Saturday? Will students rush to courthouses until everyone is packing, or will the percentage of those carrying on campus merely reflect the current percentage off-campus?

First off, just how many people are carrying? Using the most accurate data available, from a 2011 Government Accountability Office report due to Georgia’s exemption of carry permit numbers from open records, roughly nine percent of all those in Georgia that are old enough to carry do.

Assuming that percentage holds true for the estimated 53.5 percent of Georgia students 21 years or older, there’s roughly 25,500 college students in Georgia that carry. But will that number increase now that guns are legal?

To get some answers, the AJC looked at three other states, Utah, Colorado and Texas, before and after they allowed campus carry. For example, Texas just enacted campus carry in August 2016, so there is no complete data for the first full year. However, looking specifically at 21-, 22- and 23-year-olds, permits issued between September 2015 and August 2016, with just a month of the law in place, issued permits jumped 50 percent over previous years.

>> To learn what we discovered when we looked at other states, go to the AJC Get Schooled blog.

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