Mar 24, 2009

Concealed carry put on hold

by Drew Menard

Liberty’s board of trustees holstered a petition that would permit concealed weapons on campus during a meeting on March 3, upholding Liberty’s stance as a gun-free campus.

Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. said that the board’s biggest concern was concealed carrying students living in dorms. The chances of a gun
“falling into the wrong hands” were too great.

“Although guns have a place in the world, and we can use them, I think if you saw someone carrying on a Christian campus, it wouldn’t look good,” sophomore Carissa Bates said.

Additionally, Falwell said that crime has “not been a problem at LU” and expressed the utmost confidence in Liberty’s University Police Department (LUPD).

“I think LUPD is quick and effective (in trouble situations),” Bates said. “If guns were allowed on campus, you wouldn’t know who was carrying and who wasn’t.”

“We have the LUPD, and they’re trained to do their job and will protect us,” freshman Kendra Bowers said.

Liberty’s chapter of the Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC), led by Clint Armstrong, petitioned Falwell last semester to change the university’s policy on concealed weapons.

“Criminals … are not concerned about breaking a university law that doesn’t allow concealed carry on campus,” Armstrong told the News & Advance. “(Allowing concealed carry) is the best decision to keep the campus safe.”

The group brought a formal petition to Falwell with 597 signatures, according to the News & Advance, including those of students, parents and alumni.

Falwell told the News & Advance that he and the board considered both sides of the issue before reaching a decision. No official vote was taken at the meeting, but the board agreed to uphold the current policy, which bans concealed weapons. LUPD officers are the only people currently allowed to have weapons on Liberty’s campus.

“We’ve received a lot of feedback (on this issue), and I’d say the majority of the community does not support (concealed carry on Liberty’s campus),” Falwell told the News & Advance. “The ones who do support it are very, very committed and the ones who are against it feel just as strongly.”

Falwell also noted that those in favor of concealed carry are outnumbered by those who are not “two-to-one.”

Armstrong remains confident that the board will give the petition more consideration in the future. He will be meeting with Falwell again in the near future to discuss the matter further.

“The board decided not to make a rash decision (and) are taking time to fully consider the issue,” Armstrong said. “We should all be grateful that we have leadership that does not make important changes on a whim and instead is interested making fully informed decisions.”

In the meantime, Armstrong will continue to raise support for the petition and continue to add signatures.

“I believe there are many more supporters of our cause than the Administration realizes,” Armstrong said.

SCCC boasts over 34,000 members nationally, according to its Web site, with Liberty’s chapter at 700 members, according to the Facebook group, “Students for concealed carry at Liberty University.”

Contact Drew Menard


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