Dozens of Georgia Tech students who participate in sports shooting are training fellow students on the use of firearms amid a spike in off-campus shootings around Atlanta, Ga.
There have been seven incidents involving a weapon in Atlanta neighborhoods surrounding the college since Jan. 10, according to local Fox affiliate WAGA-TV. Rob Montgomery, vice president of the Georgia Tech Marksmanship Club, told the station that he is upset thieves are trying to take advantage of college students by prowling the neighborhoods near the campus.
"What we really think is the best solution to these problems is to have people properly trained in the use of firearms," he said.
The club's website indicates it was formed "for education and training in firearms safety, discussion of and participation in the shooting sports and related hobbies, and for education and discussion regarding the legal and political aspects of responsible ownership and use of firearms." The group meets once per month to plan out activities for memberships ranging from experienced to first-time shooters.
Phillip Yamin, the club's president, praised the law signed by Georgia's Gov. Nathan Deal (R.) last year, which allowed people with permits to carry concealed handguns on Georgia's public college campuses.
In order to receive a concealed carry permit, Georgia requires individuals to be at least 21 years of age unless active duty military or able to provide proof of attending basic training.
"Before campus-carry was enacted, I would not have felt safe walking from school back home in Home Park," Yamin said.
The Georgia Tech Police Department put both club leaders through special training using a threat simulator, which they hope will be used to simulate real-life scenario drills with other students as well.
"If someone thinks you have a gun, they are far less likely to target you for a robbery," Montgomery said.