New Georgia Law Puts a Jolt in Higher Education

Back-to-school stun guns gaining popularity.
Back-to-school stun guns gaining popularity.

Since July 1, 2016, it has been legal in Georgia to carry a stun gun or Taser anywhere on campus of state colleges and universities as a method of personal protection.

Anyone 18 years of age or older or currently enrolled in classes at those institutions can carry an “electroshock weapon” with them while “in or on any building or real property owned by or leased to such public technical school, vocational school, college or university or other public institution of postsecondary education” according to the new law.

No special license is required to possess one of these type of devices.

The law does specify that the weapon can only be used for self-defense or defense of others. There was some concern when the bill was being proposed that students would go around zapping each other for fun.

According to U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Matt Kilgo, “The new law can be considered a compromise to the campus carry bill vetoed by Governor Nathan Deal last May which would have allowed guns on state colleges and universities.”

Kilgo added, “It gives the students a way to protect themselves without having to carry a lethal weapon or resorting to deadly force.”

While students agree with that approach, most indicate that they would be fine with others carrying a stun gun, but would probably not carry one themselves.

In an interview reported in the largest college newspaper in Georgia, The Red & Black, Jenna Rich a freshman psychology and theater double major said “I’d probably accidentally Taser myself.”

There has not been a stampede to purchase Tasers and stun guns since the Governor signed the bill into law on May 3. A few Georgia gun stores have seen a slight uptick in sales, primarily of the variety that require contact between the device and the attacker, rather than Tasers which fire a projectile at the person to deliver the electric shock, while other stores indicated that they have not seen any increase in sales than usual.

One store owner in particular said he has seen fathers coming in to buy the devices for their daughters.

“With classes starting up in August,” says Kilgo, “we will have to see how this all works out.”

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