Firearms in the dorms
Board of trustees approves concealed carry weapons in residence halls.
The Liberty University board of trustees recently approved a policy change for concealed carry weapons on campus, which will allow President Jerry Falwell to permit students to have their concealed carry in the residence halls.
The previous campus firearm policy stated that “members of the University community that are over 21 with concealed weapons permits can seek permission from LUPD to carry concealed weapons on campus and store them in their locked vehicles.”
With the new change, students and faculty must still have a valid concealed weapons permit from the state and be approved by the Liberty University Police Department (LUPD).
David Corry, general counsel of Liberty, said students will be required to place their guns in a safe in the residence halls under the new policy.
“The students who are issued concealed carry permits will be in charge of overseeing their own weapons,” Corry said.
“They can either be concealed on their person or locked in a safe that only they can open or LUPD can open. There is no open carry or open display of weapons anywhere on campus, including in the residence halls. Violation of the policy results in conduct code violations and revocation of the concealed carry permit.”
Corry said Falwell listened to students’ opinions and was in agreement with them regarding the previous concealed carry policy.
He then requested the board of trustees to change the policy.
“As Liberty built more residence halls, our residents were having to park further from their rooms,” Corry said.
“Students again requested a change, saying they would feel safer if they didn’t have to leave their weapons locked in their glove compartments when walking from their cars to the residence halls, especially at night. Dorm students also didn’t appreciate living in the only buildings on campus that were gun-free zones, sending an undesirable message of vulnerability.”
According to Corry, the university did research in order to create the best policy.
“Liberty looked at the Texas policies in developing its new policy for concealed carry in the residence halls, and there are many similarities, such as the requirement to keep weapons in a safe installed by the university,” Corry said.
Corry said students should not feel unsafe with the new policy changes, and if they do, they are not required to room with someone that has the concealed carry in the dorm.
“First, no one has to have a roommate with a gun in the room if (he or she) is uncomfortable with it,” Corry said.
“Everyone in a room has to agree for concealed carry to be permitted by a dorm resident and a safe installed in (his or her) room.”
Corry also said that students who conceal carry in the residence halls already have permission to conceal carry in classroom buildings, athletic venues and campus dining halls.
Because of this, Corry said that students should not feel any less safe.
“The guns will be invisible because they can only be concealed on a permitted student’s person or locked in a safe,” Corry said.
“So people won’t feel threatened by anyone brandishing firearms anywhere on campus, including the dorms. Students should actually feel more safe because students who are armed and can defend themselves can more effectively neutralize a threat and defend their fellow students in the residence halls, just as they can elsewhere on campus.”
Corry said he and Falwell do not believe the change will affect the atmosphere on the residence halls.
“We don’t think the policy change will result in any major change in the residence hall culture,” Corry said.
“Of the approximately 7,000 residents, this year only about 200 were 21 years of age and thus eligible for a concealed weapons permit. Of those 200, only about 20 had the permits.”
Rodriguez is the editor-in-chief.