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The Status of the Concealed Campus Carry Bill

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The Status of the Concealed Campus Carry Bill

Perry Bennett

Perry Bennett

Perry Bennett

Harmon Lanager, Staff Reporter

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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.

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About the Writer
Harmon Lanager, Staff Reporter

Harmon Lanager is a staff writer for the Columns and has attended Fairmont for three semesters, having transferred here from WVU. He is a history major...

10 Comments

10 Responses to “The Status of the Concealed Campus Carry Bill”

  1. Cheyenne Johnson on March 2nd, 2019 9:54 am

    I don’t believe people should be allowed to have weapons on campus. I agree with officer Swain about the disaster it will cause. While some people may have enough training to carry, most do not. I believe that weapons do not belong on campuses and we should let the trained officers protect us if the time would come that we needed protected. I hope this bill does not pass.

  2. Cheyenne Navarro on March 3rd, 2019 7:13 am

    While there are a few safety benefits to the capability to carry concealed weapons on campus, I believe there would be more detrimental factors to this bill. I do agree as the article mentioned: “many students are already exposed to alcohol and drugs, adding firearms into the mix may just be a disaster waiting to happen.” A better solution may be to regularly and thoroughly train security members who are responsible to respond in emergency situations.

  3. Abby hartley on March 3rd, 2019 5:29 pm

    Though there may be some benefits to allowing weapons on campus, such as extra protection, I believe it would cause more harm than good. We have trained professionals to protect the campus in an emergency and I think that allowing anyone to carry firearms on campus would lead to more emergencies than it would be preventing. In a high intensity situation, a weapon in the hands of just anyone would only make the situation worse. Also, people who are not comfortable around these weapons would basically be forced to be around them in a place where they come to better themselves. I think allowing this bill to pass would create more stress on campus than students and faculty already have to face.

  4. Mason Malone on March 3rd, 2019 6:50 pm

    I do not feel that students should be allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus. In my opinion, no good can come from the passing of this bill. This would make me feel less safe on campus because someone could just snap and start shooting. I really hope this bill does not pass further through the house.

  5. Kayleigh Casto on March 3rd, 2019 11:50 pm

    Campus carry could be of benefit to students on campus if those wanting to participate go through designed campus carry training and posses a concealed carry license.

  6. Mari Rose on March 4th, 2019 8:40 am

    Students, due to West Virginia’s Conceal Carry law, guns are already allowed to conceal carry on campus, as I know students who already are carrying. This bill just gives more rights to those who feel the Amendment rights are important and should not be hindered on campus. Students who want to carry should have to go through training in safety and be safe about it. Of course, the need for background checks is important also. Gun laws have not prevented mass shootings. I mean, look at the mess Chicago is in right now and they have the most stringent gun laws in the nation. Telling people they should not carry on campus is not going to prevent a person who means harm from having a gun. It is not like they are going to say, oh look, it is against the law to have a gun here. No, matter of fact, they are going to be more apt to bring a gun because they know they won’t be stopped.

  7. Cassidy Toothman on March 4th, 2019 1:31 pm

    Although I support concealed carry I do not support concealed carry on campuses. Like Officer Swain stated, those in the law enforcement profession endure hours upon hours of training to ensure accuracy. Students would not be required to have any training after the initial course to receive their license; therefore some students could be more harm than help in the event of a shooting.

  8. Austin Parks on March 4th, 2019 8:54 pm

    I don’t have an in-depth knowledge about school shootings, but I feel like students are jumping to conclusions on both sides of this debate. I don’t feel like the school would be any more or less dangerous if open carry was allowed on campus. It could deter shooters from targeting FSU and also spotlight the gun owners on campus, which could also prevent a possible shooting. This is a very controversial opinion for a very controversial topic.

  9. Carlos M. Serrano on March 5th, 2019 12:17 pm

    I don’t really care to comment on this topic.

  10. Shaylena Hess on March 6th, 2019 9:39 pm

    In my honest opinion, I understand why the government was trying to put it into place, but it’s quite stupid to allow students to carry weapons on campus. With a number of students who are struggling with stress, anxiety, mental disorders, drinking, drugs, and everything else, who knows what problems we’d end up having with something like this put into place? this would just increase the risk of injury and death that can happen on campuses.

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