Lawrence Schall
Lawrence Schall

Lawrence Schall was so horrified when he saw the reports of innocent young children massacred in Connecticut he had to do something.

“I got up in the middle of the night and started to write,” Schall said.

Schall, the president of Brookhaven’s Oglethorpe University, ended up writing a letter asking President Barack Obama as well as lawmakers in Washington and in Georgia “to take action on gun control now,” according to reports from CBS Atlanta, the Brookhaven Reporter’s broadcast partner.

“It feels like staying silent is just not the right thing to do anymore,” Schall said.

So far, more than 300 college and university presidents have signed the petition. It asks political leaders for policies that would lead to better identification and treatment of the mental health issues; end the gun show loophole; and reinstate the ban on military-style semi-automatic assault weapons.

“It feels to me like this is the tipping point. If we don’t do something now, we’re not likely to,” Schall said. “This is not an issue on which people should fall along party lines.”

The petition will be hard to sell in Georgia, a state that historically has expanded gun owners’ rights, said Page Pate, a legal expert on gun control. “Legislators here in Georgia have looked to the people and the majority of the people have been for looser gun restrictions,” Pate said.

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.