The University of North Georgia's Student Newspaper




U.S. Gun Ownership Rises: How Students Can Stay Safe on Campus

You can protect yourself and others by knowing the law
UNG Public Safety (Detective Weiner)

It is statistically proven that when gun ownership rises, so does crime.

Gun ownership has been on the rise in the last several years with many state-by-state reforms being passed. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the Georgia Constitutional Carry Act into Law on April 12, 2022, changing the restriction on firearm possession. The law states that any lawful weapons carrier can purchase a firearm and carry it in public without a concealed carry license.

In 2020, around 6,821,376 firearms were imported into the United States, with 4,031,280 of those being handguns.

In November 2023, 40% of American college students owned guns (

Maddie Buchanan, a criminal justice major, says she grew up in the mountains and has no problem with students carrying on campus. She says she takes comfort in the fact that gun owners “go through the [background check] process.”

Jack Wilson, a junior cybersecurity major says, “Firearms are fun to shoot, but it is also incredibly important to know how to be safe around them for your sake and others’.”

The UNG Public Safety Department advises all students to know their carry rights and learn gun safety. Many students refused to go on the record about gun rights because, as one student said, they “are not educated on the subject.”

Detective Jeremy Weiner of the UNG Public Safety Department clears up the confusion about who can conceal carry on campus. He says, “Basically, professors must follow the same rules as everyone else. The current state law does not require a lawful weapons carrier to complete training to receive a permit.”

The Public Safety Department building on the UNG Dahlonega campus.
Faith Forrester

One of the most asked questions to the Public Safety Department, according to the website, is “Should supervisors conduct additional training for their staff?” Weiner says, “UNG cannot require training for professors to carry; according to the USG guidance on the campus carry, the law does not give ‘individual institutions discretion to bar or further limit handguns on their campuses.’”

In short, all people on campus are permitted to conceal carry in accordance with OCGA 16-11-127.1. The law also “lists the persons exempt from the campus carry law,” Weiner says.

There is one exception. If the course or activity has any high school students enrolled through a program such as the ‘Move on When Ready Act.’

Students can check to see if there are dual-enrolled students by going to their Student Tranguid on Banner and viewing their schedule; if there are high school students in the class it will say “Yes” under the “Dual Enrollment Students” label. Students may also contact the UNG Registrar’s Office to see the status of a classroom.

Students who want to carry a handgun must conceal it meaning “carried in such a fashion that does not actively solicit the attention of others and is not prominently, openly, and intentionally displayed except for purposes of defense of self or others,” Weiner says. He says this can include carrying within a nondescriptive bag or under an article of clothing.

Graph shows bars with number of cases with illegal weapon possessions per campus. Dahlonega had 3 in 2020, 6 in 2021, 2 in 2022, and Oconee had 1 in 2021. All statistics are from the UNG 2023 Annual Security Report & Annual Fire Safety Report.
Faith Forrester

It is important to note that UNG Public Safety says carrying is not allowed in residence halls. According to the campus carry page, lawful weapons cannot be carried to athletic sporting events or in student housing, among other places on campus.

From 2020 to 2022, there were eight reported cases of illegal possession of a firearm in on-campus housing, according to the 2023 UNG Annual Security Report & Annual Fire Safety Report.

Kaitlyn Thompson, a senior Interdisciplinary Studies major, and RA on the Dahlonega campus, says that this year, she has not seen any guns on the Dahlonega campus residence halls. She says, “If one is found campus PD is called immediately,” and that the RAs “keep [their] distance to stay safe.”

“We would rather be called 1,000 times and have it be nothing, than to not get the one call that could have prevented something bad from happening.” – Detective Jeremy Weiner

The UNG Public Safety department is available 24/7/365, at 706-864-1500.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Vanguard

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of North Georgia. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Vanguard

Comments (0)

All Vanguard Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *