Monday, students at Georgia Tech, Southern Polytechnic State and Kennesaw State began wearing empty holsters on campus as part of a nationwide effort to support campus carry laws.
The event is particularly important to students in Georgia. This session, state lawmakers drafted a bill that would have allowed people with concealed carry permits to bring their guns on campus, but the General Assembly failed to reach a compromise on the issue.
“Really it’s just about activism—spreading the word and helping people understand the kind of legislation that was on the table and will be on the table again [in] January 2014,” explained Austin Isop, a first year Georgia Tech student from Seattle.
Isop is part of Georgia Tech Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, which has almost 900 likes on Facebook. He said he has gotten mixed reactions from his fellow classmates from people shaking their heads at him to others inquiring about his holster.
“I’m happy to answer questions really,” said Isop. ““We just kind of want to educate people and show people that it’s not something to be feared or scared about. It’s something really just to accept and know that it’s a good thing and not a bad thing.”
The University System of Georgia, however, adamantly opposed the campus carry provision in the legislature and some students agree that firearms should be left to campus security officers.
“We have a lot of things in the past that happened, like Virginia Tech, Columbine, but still in my opinion, not everybody should have a gun on campus,” shared fourth year student Alex Merriweather from Augusta.
The “empty holster” protest will continue through Friday.