The Status of the Concealed Campus Carry Bill

Harmon Lanager, Staff Reporter

A bill is currently under the consideration of the West Virginian state legislature that will require all state colleges to allow students to conceal carry firearms on campus. Defenders of the bill claim that it will ultimately make students safer; yet the proposal is meeting heavy resistance from many in the higher education fields.

“The senior institutions of West Virginia have provided a statement to the state legislature in solidarity opposing the bill,” states Dr. Mirta Martin, President of Fairmont State University, “because we have concerns for the safety of our students, staff, and community.”

Specifically, those concerns are of spontaneous violence. The chief of campus police, Matthew Swain, has stated that college campuses are especially volatile environments that would only get worse with the introduction of firearms.

The party culture and environment on campus present a large problem to the bill. As many students are already exposed to alcohol and drugs, adding firearms into the mix may just be a disaster waiting to happen.

A common justification for campus concealed carry is that it will allow students to protect themselves in case of a school shooting. Swain found this defense lacking. “We train under stressful conditions. Nationally, when an officer has to pull their weapon in a stressful situation, their accuracy rate is about thirty percent. What is that accuracy rate going to be like for those who don’t train all the time?”

West Virginia University, Marshall University, and Fairmont State University have all publicly announced their opposition to the bill. Despite this, it also has found support among gun rights groups such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Citizens Defense League. The bill itself has been approved by House committee and soon will be heading to the House floor.

Zachary Fancher
Zachary Fancher