by Andrew Mullins
Without question, the debate over guns - and specifically concealed carry laws - is one of the hottest issues on Georgia college campuses. Last week, the Georgia State House passed HB 512 by an overwhelming majority - a bill that gives college students with a Georgia Weapons License the right to carry concealed weapons to defend themselves, as long as they do not carry in a Greek house, athletic venue, or dorm.
At Georgia Tech we have a considerable crime problem, and in recent years students have faced numerous dangerous situations including a string of armed robberies. While everyone acknowledges the safety risks in and around campus, opinions on how best to prevent and defend against these crimes differ sharply. At a recent Georgia Tech Student Government meeting, elected student representatives spoke out on all sides of the issue, with no decisive outcome. In recent days, however, the greatest opponent of the student voice has been Georgia Tech Student Body President Eran Mordel and his executive board.
In a letter dated March 13, Mordel petitioned the Georgia legislative body to oppose HB 512. He supposedly formed his opinion based on personal convictions and conversations with student activist groups. While we do not know exactly who he talked to, we do know that he ignored a few conservative, pro-concealed carry groups on campus.
Where was student opinion on this matter? Where were the campus surveys or resolutions voted on by our elected Student Government Association? Mordel has, in fact, unilaterally issued a blanket statement opposing HB 512, without gauging the actual viewpoints of the crime-riddled student body.
And it gets even worse. Several days before Mordel released the letter, he sent an email to the student body presidents at all the major Georgia universities asking for their support of his petition. This would not have been so bad if Mordel had actually informed Tech's student body of exactly what he was doing in their name. Not only did Mordel, of his own accord, decide to lobby on behalf of the entire student body based on his personal beliefs, but he hid his agenda and actions from the students themselves.
In our conversations with several students and campus groups over the past few years, it is evident that many students are worried about their safety and want a way to defend themselves. Criminals know that students are unarmed, often carrying expensive laptops, cell phones, and textbooks, so they are an easy crime target. The notion that campuses should be "gun free zones" is absurd and only puts students at greater risk, and the support for concealed carry on campus continues to grow.
Mordel's letter incorrectly spoke on behalf of all Georgia Tech students without a prior and proper survey of campus opinion. While he continues his personal fight against the Second Amendment, students are left without an official voice on this issue. It is a sad day when students at a leading public university are misrepresented and robbed of the chance to express our concerns on a matter that affects us all - personal safety.
Andrew Mullins is a 4th year biology major and a leading conservative activist on campus.