Guns will soon be allowed at public universities' tailgating events in Georgia
Tailgating refers to social gatherings in the US, usually held before a sporting event. Source: Shutterstock

In a month’s time, a new state law in Georgia will allow anyone with concealed firearm permits carry a handgun during tailgate parties at public universities.

The development has prompted the University of Georgia to call for respect and patience as the school implements the law.

According to USA College Today, the six upcoming contests at the campus’ Sanford Stadium will be affected by this controversial new law, the first of which is against Appalachian State University early September.

“I understand many of you have strong feelings about this bill,” university Chancellor Steve Wrigley wrote in a memo last week.

“Yet, whether you opposed or supported the legislation, it will soon be state law, and I respectfully ask everyone to exercise patience, understanding and respect as we implement it.”

Tailgating refers to social gatherings in the US usually held before a sporting event, including football, where people consume alcoholic beverages and grill food around the open tailgate of a vehicle.

The Bill permitting licensed holders to carry firearms in such events at public college and university campuses was signed into law by state governor Nathan Deal earlier this month, despite state university leaders objecting to the measure.

NPR reports Deal’s signing was a flip from his earlier position sternly criticising a similar Bill where he said it was “highly questionable” allowing guns would make students safer.

The new law is said to be aimed at protecting students, with Deal saying “assailants can, and do, target these students knowing full well their victims are not permitted to carry protection.”

But the new law stops short at allowing handguns to be carried around campus, such as buildings used for sporting events, residence halls, childcare rooms and administrative offices.

No handguns will be allowed to be carried openly as well. All handguns must be “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 defence of self or others”, according to the statute.

However, universities are not allowed to place further restrictions to handguns on their campuses.

Chancellor Wrigley calls for restraint among the new law’s naysayers and to not interfere with a licence holder’s right to carry handguns according to the new statute.

“It is incumbent upon each of us to follow the law. Students, faculty and staff should not attempt themselves to monitor or to enforce compliance with the statute by those who do carry handguns.”

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