Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Gun-free no more?

Student group defends concealed carry on college campuses

A group known as Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) is speaking out about allowing students with concealed carry licenses to be armed on college campus and said that not doing so puts college students at risk.

Control — Chuck Thomas instructs a friend at Lynchburg Arms and Indoor Shooting Range. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

Founded following the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, SCC’s aspirations are to reform firearm regulations. They have already done so in six states and are helping others to consider the switch to allow concealed carry on campus.

“For years, colleges have cultivated a deadly illusion that a gun-free policy makes us safer,” Director of Public Relations for SCC David Burnett said. “The current rules guarantee criminals a free shot. Allowing licensed concealed carry would give potential attackers pause and ultimately give innocent victims a fighting chance.”

Liberty University recently permitted concealed carry to those with licenses as long as they do not carry in school facilities, according to liberty.edu.

“The campus weapons policy was amended in November 2011 by a vote of the Board of Trustees,” Liberty University Police Department (LUPD) Chief of Police Col. Richard Hinkley said.

This change removed the total ban on firearms, allowing exceptions for university visitors and members of Liberty over the age of 21 to get permission from LUPD to conceal carry, according to university policy.

The policy was designed so that people with concealed weapons could keep them locked in their vehicles while on campus, or store them with LUPD without going against Liberty policy.

According to the SCC website, public colleges in Colorado have to allow concealed carry on campus after the Colorado Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of the SCC. This ruling will add to the 220 campuses in six states that already allow concealed carry.

According to Burnett, SCC’s goals are often misunderstood in spite of increasing responses from college campuses around the nation.

“We’re not out to arm everyone. We’re just saying, ‘If you have the legal permit and can legally carry virtually everywhere else, why is your right to self-defense suspended on campus?’” Burnett said. “Guns in the hands of the right people can save lives, and universities are stopping the right people from protecting themselves.”

“I agree with SCC’s goal of allowing responsible permit holders to carry guns on campus to counter the criminals who might have guns,” Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. said. “When Liberty allowed guns on campus in 2011, it was one of only a handful of universities to take that step. Liberty plans to revise its policy again soon in conformity with the 200 colleges that have allowed concealed carry as a result of SCC’s efforts. We are now studying what the policy change should be.”

SCC currently comprises more than 40,000 supporters who endorse the idea for legal concealed carry on college campuses.

“Gun-free zones are defense-free zones,” Burnett said. “Since our colleges can’t guarantee our safety, it’s time for them to allow us a fighting chance and decriminalize self-defense.”

For more information on the SCC, visit concealedcampus.org, or for information on Liberty University’s weapons policy, visit the LUPD page at liberty.edu.

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