ATLANTA -- An assortment of gun-control groups announced their opposition Wednesday to allowing young adults to get concealed-weapons permits and to guns on campus.
A spokeswoman for the Young Democrats of Georgia that organized the Capitol press conference said they were worried about Senate Bill 493 by Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville. It would lower the age for a concealed-weapons permit from 21 to 18. It passed the Senate 41-13 on March 7 and is awaiting consideration in the House.
An 18-year-old is likely to still be in high school and doesn’t have the judgment or the mental development to properly handle a weapon, according to Alice Johnson, director of Georgians for Gun Safety.
“The General Assembly has victimized us all by the law of unintended consequences,” she said.
Asked why young adults have the maturity to vote at that age but not carry a concealed weapon, Pace Academy teacher and former Marine Gavin Bradley said the difference is the degree of damage possible from poor choices.
“They shouldn’t have the ability to impact their peers in a way that’s so consequential and irreversible,” he said.
The groups also oppose allowing weapons on college campuses, pointing to a survey released Wednesday by Better Georgia showing that 66 percent of the 773 registered voters in Georgia agree.
Andy Pelosi, spokesman for Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus, said his organization had affiliates at 320 schools in 27 states mobilized to fight efforts to relax restrictions on campus weapons.
The president of College Democrats of Georgia, John Koch, said that support is growing.
“Today is the beginning of a renewed focus on positive solutions to the violent problems that plague our state and nation,” he said.
The groups called for ending poverty, expansion of background-check requirements on gun sales, and violence-prevention courses as ways to reduce violence. They specifically rejected the argument made by some conservatives that an armed public is safer.
“I’m concerned that we’re telling students, telling teachers, telling administrators that if you want to be safe, you need to carry a gun,” said Sen. Vincent Fort, an Atlanta Democrat whose district includes the campuses of Georgia Tech and Atlanta University Center.