Valdosta Police Chief, citizens express concern over campus carry bill

Valdosta Police Chief, citizens express concern over campus carry bill

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill Thursday that allows folks to carry firearms on areas of college campuses, if they have a permit.

Just hours before signing the bill, the Valdosta Police Chief, Valdosta State University professors and alumni, and a few other organization leaders spoke out against the campus carry bill.

The bill allows people 21 years of age and older with a license to carry a firearm on campus.

It has drawn mixed responses from students at colleges across the state.

The meeting Thursday comes just two days before Governor Deal is set to speak at VSU's graduation ceremony.

Police Chief Brian Childress said his biggest concern is chaos. He said he believes allowing folks to carry a weapon on campus will only cause confusion if a serious problem were to happen.

He argues that law enforcement officers would be forced to make split second decisions and figure out who with a weapon is a threat and who is not.

"It is hard already for a police officer who is trained to make those decisions," urged Chief Childress, "So, I am worried about the fallout if they shoot the wrong person, and there will be fallout."

One professor said he opposes the bill because he believes it would keep universities from being a safe place for all students.

"Universities, and colleges, and schools in general are indeed sanctuaries," urged VSU professor Michael Noll, "They should remain sanctuaries for higher learning where we can have passionate discussions, where we can have the space to disagree, where we can engage in the kinds of conversations that are needed to mature."

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