To the Editor:
In a recent Wheel editorial (“Shooting Down House Bill 29,” February 7, 2013), the Wheel‘s editorial board asked Emory’s administration to issue a statement as to what policies Emory would enact in the event that Georgia House Bill 29, also known as the Campus Carry Act of 2013, became state law.
While Emory is not prepared to address specific pieces of legislation at this time, given that not all of the expected legislation on this topic has been formally introduced in the legislature – and HB 29 has only recently been open for debate – Emory has a strong, ongoing interest in the security of our campus and the safety of our students. Therefore, we will continue to strongly advocate the preservation of college and university campuses as school safety zones on which carrying firearms is prohibited by Georgia state law.
Emory does not believe that the safety or security of our college campus will be enhanced by giving thousands of students – along with staff, faculty and visitors – the right to carry weapons in our community, and we will strongly oppose any change in law that would make this activity possible. Indeed, quite the contrary, we view the prospect of armed student bodies and campus communities with great concern. Neither faculty, nor staff and administrators, nor most students themselves, will take comfort in knowing that some or many of their colleagues are legally carrying handguns as they move around campus.
Emory’s position on any legislation that would adversely affect our right to prohibit guns on campus will remain the same as it was three years ago, when representatives from the Office of General Counsel and the Emory Police Department visited the Capitol to voice Emory’s strong opposition to legislation similar to the current HB 29.
Emory shares the abhorrence at the gun violence that has flared repeatedly in our nation, including the recent horrific incident in Newtown, Connecticut. With respect to issues regarding national gun control proposals, it is Emory’s position that these are issues of great importance for our larger society to address. Here at Emory, we are called upon to direct our energies to those decisions and policies that directly impinge on our mission and our safety and security, not to judge or recommend specific policy prescriptions for reducing these incidents.
What we will do is to forcefully oppose any change in the current status that we and other colleges and universities across the State of Georgia enjoy at the present time, which is to preserve the firearm-free nature of our campus.
Associate Vice President