COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — An on-campus gun incident over the weekend has highlighted the complexity of the gun laws at Columbus State University and other Georgia colleges.
Here’s what police say happened …
Decoreius Shannon, 21, was in his dorm room with a 9-millimeter Glock handgun when he took the magazine out of it.
Police say he pulled the trigger, but there was a round in the chamber. The shot went through three walls and into an occupied dorm room.
It happened in Columbus Hall, a downtown dorm in the 1000 block of Broadway.
Shannon is facing multiple charges including carrying a weapon in a school safety zone and reckless conduct. Recorder’s Court Judge Susan Henderson ordered Shannon held on more than $7,500 bond during a Monday hearing.
Here’s the catch, under Georgia law guns are allowed on parts of the CSU campus.
Here is what CSU Police Chief Laura Bennett had to say earlier today.
“I think arming themself with appropriate information is where they should begin,” Bennett said. “They should know when or where they could carry a weapon and where they can’t. For example, you know, as you said, residence halls are a restricted area. They can’t have them there. So, if they’re aware of other people having them in those restricted spaces, they should report it to the police. Those people who choose to be gun owners should do so responsibly.”
There are a number of restricted areas on the CSU campus where guns are not permitted.
— Residence halls.
— Athletic venues.
— Rooms for student discipline proceedings.
— Classrooms where high school students are present. This usually happens during dual enrollment classes
— And Faculty and staff offices.
Here’s who can – and cannot – carry guns on campus.
— You have to be a Georgia resident and 21 or over. The exception is military personnel who can be 18 or over.
— You can’t be a convicted felon or have domestic violence or certain drug convictions.
— You can’t have been treated for mental health issues in the past five years.
Bennett says the responsibility is on the gun owner to know the law. For example, it is up to them to know if they are in a dual enrollment classroom that would have high school students present.
She says those who carry guns should make sure they are doing it responsibly.
“They should make sure that they understand the safe operation of the weapon,” she said. “It would have been very simple for this person to have not pulled the trigger while a round was chambered. And that’s unfortunate. Luckily, no one was hurt.”
The university environment is a balancing act for guns, Bennett said.
“I believe that a lot of our students want to own handguns. And I believe that there are probably an equal number of students that want to pretend that handguns do not exist and want to shy away from that type of information,” she said. “I think it’s responsible for all of us to take into consideration that there are people around us that are armed and there are people that are very sensitive to that.”