ATLANTA, Ga. — The Georgia chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after authorities identified Clark Atlanta University student Jatonne Sterling as the victim of a fatal shooting at the parking lot of the LYKE House Catholic Newman Center near campus Tuesday afternoon.
“The Clark Atlanta student body is far too familiar with the trauma of gun violence on and around our campus, and it’s unacceptable,” said Jackie Azah, a volunteer with Students Demand Action at Clark Atlanta University. “We shouldn’t have to live in fear of being shot at our schools or anywhere else in our communities, and we refuse to let this become normal. Georgia lawmakers are failing my generation, and we’ll continue to hold them accountable until they do their jobs and protect students from these senseless acts of gun violence.”
In recent years, the Georgia legislature has been ceding to the gun lobby’s ”guns everywhere” agenda by allowing guns to be carried nearly anywhere in the state — from the busy Atlanta airport to college campuses. Last session, lawmakers repealed the state’s requirement that a person get a permit and pass a background check to carry a concealed handgun in public. These dangerous gun laws have made Georgians less safe. If the legislature continues to weaken the state’s gun laws, tragic instances like these will only continue to rise.
This isn’t the first shooting to impact Clark Atlanta University. In October, at least four people were shot and wounded during a Homecoming gathering at the school’s University Center, including two Clark Atlanta students.. These tragedies are part of a larger pattern. Gun violence is the leading cause of death for college-age people in the country — a problem that has played out at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) too. Since the start of this school year, there have been multiple incidents of gun violence on and around HBCU campuses, especially around the Homecoming season — we must demand action from our elected leaders so we can prevent senseless violence and help save lives
In January, Everytown released the updated Gun Law Rankings for 2023 which ranks each state by the strength of their gun laws. This year, Georgia dropped from the “weak” category all the way down to rank 47 in the “national failure” category after repealing its permit requirement for both concealed and open carry, last year. More information about gun violence in Georgia is available here.