Bill permitting guns on university campuses advances
A bill that could allow students and faculty members to carry guns on state university campuses was approved Friday by the West Virginia House Education Committee. The Bill will now move to the House Judiciary Committee for further review on a date that has yet to be determined.
The bill itself would allow those with permits to carry concealed weapons and bring them to state campuses.
Shepherd University President Mary J.C. Hendrix is one of many faculty members against the bill as is university counsel Alan Perdue.
“Campus Carry legislation presents deep concerns for most college administrators because our experiences with students daily reflect large numbers of students who are not well suited, emotionally and psychologically, to either the routine of carrying of a deadly weapon or to the exposure to peers who are carrying such weapons,” Perdue said in an email sent to faculty Friday.
James Lewin, a faculty member in the English department, also expressed concerns over the bill.
“This new law opens the campus to potential chaos,” he said. “How will professors be able to protect themselves and their students? Where will it end?”
Many university students shared the concern.
“It is a horrible idea to have guns on campus due to the history of mass school shootings in the past,” said Kaitlyn Lamkin, a senior communications major. “It makes me feel unsafe.”
“I don’t think we should have guns on campus at all,” said junior Oliver Wickiser, a communications major. “I understand some people feel it would make the school safer, and it’s their legal right, but I think it would bring more violence to campus.”
However, some students support allowing guns on campus.
“It’s a part of my second amendment right to be able to have a gun if I so choose,” said freshman political science major Luke Coskner. “I would feel much safer if I could carry a gun. If someone crazy wants to shoot up a school, they are going to do so with or without the law on their side. I would much rather have my own gun to protect myself than without one.”