Stun guns and tasers allowed on Georgia college campuses

Danyelle Gaines

A new law was passed that allows students and employees 18 and older to carry stun guns and tasers on Georgia public college campuses.

House Bill 792 was proposed by House representative Buzz Brockway as an alternative to the Campus Carry bill that would have allowed guns on college campuses. Governor Nathan Deal vetoed the Campus Carry bill in March.

According to Maura Copeland, associate vice president for legal affairs, electroshock devices have been removed from the definition of prohibited weapons on college campuses.

“This puts electroshock devices on the same legal footing as baseball bats or fists. These items are not per se illegal to possess on campus. However, they may not be used to inflict harm on someone else except in defense of self or others,” Copeland said in an email.

Electroshock devices may only be used in defense of self or others, and they can be carried openly or concealed. No license or permit is necessary to carry an electroshock device.

According to Laura McCullough, campus Chief of Police, Georgia Southern University experiences few situations where a stun gun is needed for self-defense.

“Georgia Southern has a very low crime rate. Most of the crime we see on campus is theft of property, which is usually left unattended by the owner. There are very few crimes against persons on our campus, where a weapon, such as a stun gun, is needed for protection,” McCullough said.

Jacquelyn Siddons, senior public relations major, feels that stun guns are a better alternative to guns being allowed on campuses.

“I feel like carrying guns on a college campus is a little extreme and that would be ridiculous if they really allowed that to happen. Stun guns are a reasonable alternative,” Siddons said.

Mook Eleby, senior computer science major, feels stun guns are very necessary on campus.

“I believe it’s necessary to make students feel safer on college campuses. Anything can happen, and I think students should be able to protect themselves,” Eleby said.

Colleges statewide have begun conducting classes to educate students on the new law and how to properly use a stun gun. However, GS does not have plans to conduct such classes.

“At this time, we do not plan on conducting any educational or instructional classes for the use of stun guns. Commercial stun guns are made to be simple and easy to use by the owner,” McCullough said.

Electroshock devices are available for purchase at local businesses, gun stores and large retail stores.