Students at Columbus State University in the US State of Georgia could be allowed to carry concealed weapons if a new bill is passed this week. Some students at the university are demanding the right to carry weapons to protect themselves form anyone carrying out a murderous shooting spree. However, some other students, staff and the police are against the proposal.
A Facebook group calling itself Columbus State University Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (CSUSCC) is behind the demand to carry weapons. Robert Eager, a spokesman for the group, says students need to be able to protect themselves.
"We can hear gunfire on campus as it is," Eager told Sky News, "With muggings around the edge of campus and students are being held at gunpoint on campus. Why not let people who hold a legal firearm bring it onto campus? We're not proposing opening an active shooting range."
Columbus State University Chief of Police Rus Drew said the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, in which 32 people were killed, was a "game-changer" that demonstrated police needed to be ready to respond to reports much quicker. Students carrying weapons would make it harder for police to work out who the "bad guys are" when entering a crime scene.
Georgia's Governor Nathan Deal will, this week, make the decision on whether to veto the proposals. REM singer Michael Stipe, who formed the rock group with fellow students at the University of Georgia, has written an open letter pleading with Deal to veto the bill.
"I'm worried about classrooms," Stipe wrote. "If students are debating a contested subject – which is crucial to learning and expanding their worldviews – I worry what will happen to that open and honest conversation when the participants know that the people around them could have loaded guns in their backpacks."