Georgia students may soon be allowed to carry 'electroshock weapons' on campus

A Georgia lawmaker is introducing a bill that would allow college students to carry stun-guns on campus as a compromise to a concealed firearms legislation.

Many Georgia lawmakers are pushing for legislation that would permit students to carry handguns on campus but state law currently prohibits concealed handgun license holders from exercising their rights on school grounds. Most efforts to bring guns to campus have stalled at the capitol because university presidents oppose the idea. House Bill 544, which would allow anyone to carry guns on Georgia’s public campuses, was introduced in 2015 but has not received a committee hearing.

State Representative Buzz Brockway plans to file a bill next week that would let students at least 18 years of age carry electroshock weapons on all of Georgia’s public campuses. The bill, according to Brockway, was written after he discovered students are allowed to carry pepper spray on campus but not Tasers or stun-guns.

“Students told me they were not allowed to carry pepper spray with them on campus. I thought this was strange so I did some research. I found they were mistaken, and they are allowed to possess pepper spray and similar chemically based protection items. However, several of the public colleges I examined in Georgia explicitly prohibited stun-guns and Tasers on campus. So I decided to introduce a bill to change that,” Brockway told Campus Reform.

Brockway added that he thinks campus police departments are not staffed well enough to account for all of the crimes on campus.

“What I hear from students, faculty, and other campus employees, especially folks at colleges and universities in the city of Atlanta, is a desire to protect themselves,” he said. “As diligent and hardworking as campus police are, they cannot protect all the many people on campus at all time, so let those folks protect themselves.”

Some state senators, however, have raised concerns about the safety of stun-guns. Senator Vincent Fort said Tasers in the hands of college students could lead to many accidental injuries. Brockway disagrees and thinks students who purchase stun-guns will be responsible enough to avoid injuries.

“Pepper spray is allowed and we don’t see much misuse of those products on college campuses. I think the people who will choose to purchase electroshock weapons for their personal protection will act responsibly,” Brockway argued.

Unlike campus carry legislation, Brockway’s bill would not require students to pass a background check before purchasing a stun-gun.

“As best I can tell, there is currently no requirement in Georgia law for screening or training before purchasing Tasers, stun guns or other electroshock weapons and my bill does not require those things either,” he said.

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