Josh Kendall

Gamecocks can’t bring guns, unlike Bulldogs and Razorbacks

South Carolina football players enter Williams-Brice Stadium.
South Carolina football players enter Williams-Brice Stadium. Gerry Melendez

It came up at Arkansas in March. It came at Georgia earlier this week.

So just in case anyone is wondering: No, you cannot legally carry a gun to a University of South Carolina tailgate or athletic event.

“The possession or use of firearms or weapons of any kind is prohibited on campus by state law, university policy and the student code of conduct,” university spokesman Wes Hickman told The State via email on Thursday. “That holds true for sporting events as well. The university remains opposed to anyone carrying a firearm on campus other than law enforcement officers. We are proud of the work USCPD and our partner agencies do to keep our campus safe for students, faculty and staff.”

That’s not the case at University of Georgia football games. Thanks to that state’s new campus carry legislation, Bulldogs fans or opposing fans who are licensed by the state to carry a concealed weapon may do just that on campus during tailgating activities. The new law, which goes into affect July 1, does not allow fans to carry those weapons into buildings or property used for athletic events.

“This exception includes stadiums, gymnasiums and similar facilities in which intercollegiate games are staged (but does not extend to so-called 'tailgating' areas where fans may congregate outside the gates of the sports facility),” university system chancellor Steve Wrigley wrote in a statement released Wednesday. “It does not extend to student recreation centers and similar facilities that are not used for intercollegiate games.”

South Carolina plays the Bulldogs in Georgia’s Sanford Stadium on Nov. 4.

Arkansas first brought the subject of campus carry to the forefront in the Southeastern Conference. In March, that state’s legislator introduced a bill that would have allowed concealed weapons to be carried not just on campus but into stadiums. The bill was later voted into law after being revised to allow schools the right to ban weapons from athletic facilities, which the University of Arkansas has done.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey strongly encouraged the school to pursue that exemption.

“Given the intense atmosphere surrounding athletic events, adding weapons increases safety concerns and could negatively impact the intercollegiate athletics program at the University of Arkansas in several ways, including scheduling, officiating, recruiting and attendance,” he said.