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SOURCE: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/03/30/push-concealed-guns-campuses-gaining-steam

Push for concealed guns on campuses is gaining steam
Submitted by Kaitlin Mulhere on March 30, 2015 - 3:00am

At least 11 states are considering whether to allow concealed weapons on college campuses this year, the latest chapter in a now seemingly annual legislative debate between gun control advocates and gun rights supporters.

Bills have been introduced, at least once, in almost half of the 50 states in the past few years. Despite slow success thus far -- just seven states have adopted versions of campus carry laws -- gun rights advocates have their eyes on two very large prizes this year: Florida and Texas.

Right now, the odds are starting to stack up in their favor. The Texas bill has passed the Senate and is on its way to House. The version in Florida has passed through two Senate committees and is headed to the Judiciary Committee.
On "This Week," Campus Carry
We'll discuss the legislation on "This Week @ Inside Higher Ed," our weekly news podcast [1]. Click here [2] to receive an email alert when the podcast is published.

Should the bills make it through their respective legislatures, both would end up on the desks of Republican governors who are sympathetic to the gun lobby.

The arguments made on both sides of the guns on campus issue are fairly played out at this point. Supporters argue that it’s a constitutional right and one that will make campuses safer from shooters and other criminals. Opponents -- which usually include administrators, faculty members and campus law enforcement -- claim the opposite, that more guns on campus will increase the risk of dangerous situations.

Yet for all its familiarity, the idea of guns on campus is relatively novel. Campus carry was largely a nonissue a decade ago, when the University of Utah went to court [3] to defend its autonomy and the related right to stay gun-free. A few years later, Oregon, Mississippi and Wisconsin began explicitly allowing guns on campus.

In all, seven states have laws that allow concealed guns on campus, though the details vary on who can carry where. Twenty states still ban carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus, and 23 states leave the decision up to individual colleges.

States where concealed carry is permitted, either by court order or law:

Utah (court, 2006)

Oregon (court, 2011)

Mississippi (law, 2011)

Wisconsin (law, 2011)

Colorado (court, 2012)

Kansas (law, 2013)

Arkansas (faculty only, law 2013)

Idaho (law, 2014)

States where bills involving guns on campus are proposed this year:

Arkansas

Florida

Georgia

Indiana

Michigan

Montana

Nevada

Oklahoma

South Carolina

Tennessee

Texas

“It’s definitely a challenging year, to say the least,” said Andy Pelosi (MY COMMENT: Any relation?), president of the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus.

The campaign is prioritizing Texas and Florida, with a fair share of attention also going to a bill working its way through Nevada’s state legislature.

In Texas, Pelosi said it’s not clear that House Speaker Joe Straus, a Republican from San Antonio, is 100 percent on board with the bill. Even if the bill isn’t defeated, there is the possibility that opponents will be able to carve out an agreement in which colleges could opt out of the law with an annual vote.

Florida is a different story, because the proposed bill is broader than what Texas is considering, Pelosi said. Both bills would limit the right to carry to those who have a concealed weapons permit, which is already restricted to individuals 21 years and older.

But Texas’s bill [4] doesn’t allow weapons in places that are already prohibited by state law, including grade schools, hospitals, dorms and sporting arenas. Florida’s bill [5], like Utah’s, has few restrictions. That’s more extreme, Pelosi said, and he’s hoping that will hurt the bill’s chances.

So far this year, bills have failed to advance in four states: South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

In the eight years since Pelosi has been working on the issue, he has seen the arguments evolve a bit.

There’s always been a steady argument over carrying weapons being a right guaranteed by the Constitution. But in the beginning, most of the attention was focused on how armed people on campus could thwart a mass shooting. Then there was a shift to highlighting people’s right to self-defense.

“Police can’t stop the crime, only the victim has a chance to stop it,” N.R.A. lobbyist Marion Hammer was quoted in the Herald Tribune [6] as saying during a committee hearing this month for Florida’s bill.

This year, an argument that concealed carry on campus could help stop sexual assaults [7] attracted attention, a suggestion those who study sexual assault on campuses deny.

On the other side, gun control advocates and college associations have focused on what they call a dangerous combination of young adults, alcohol and guns, as well as the risk of suicide.

“It seems as though with many lawmakers, those arguments don’t resonate,” Pelosi said. “So now we have to look at the pocketbook, the fiscal impact.”

Idaho’s campus carry law went into effect in July, and the required metal detectors, employee training and additional staff cost $3.7 million [8] for five campuses.

In Florida, the State University System hasn't put out a cost estimate. The Houston Chronicle reported that the Texas law is estimated to cost up to $47 million [9] over six years for the University of Houston and University of Texas systems to update security, build gun lockers and prepare campus police. Much of the estimate comes from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s University Police Department, which said it would have to spend $22 million.
(MY COMMENT: Why the expense?)

A spokeswoman for the University of Texas system confirmed those estimates were part of the fiscal notes the campuses provided for the bill. But Students for Concealed Carry, a national group of students, parents and faculty members pushing for concealed weapons, disputes those numbers.

The law doesn’t allow for guns in hospitals, so there’s no reason the system’s medical centers should have to spend millions, according to a post on the group’s website.

The fiscal note that accompanies the Texas version of the law notes that institutions have reported varying cost estimates, but says there’s not a significant fiscal effect.

Advocates also point out that only a small percentage of students [10] would actually be able to carry guns on campus, based on the number of students who are over 21 years old and the proportion of the state’s population that actually have concealed weapons permits. Representatives from Students for Concealed Carry did not respond to emails seeking an interview. The group has a nationwide Empty Holster Protest [11] scheduled for next week, in which students are encouraged to wear empty holsters on campus to protest college policies barring firearms.

After the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the University of Colorado had to comply with the state's concealed weapon law, the university spent about a year working with faculty so they knew what to anticipate about having concealed weapons in the classroom, said Patrick O’Rourke, the university’s general counsel.

Faculty were particularly concerned about the effect the presence of guns would have to fostering an environment where people feel comfortable debating sensitive issues.

“You can’t allow the change in the law to change the fundamental nature of the institution, which is a place devoted to learning and teaching,” he said.

So far, there haven’t been any issues in classrooms. But a couple years ago, a staff member accidently discharged her gun [12] in a university building and wounded a co-worker, O’Rourke said.

NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education opposes campus carry laws, as do most other associations representing higher education. But President Kevin Kruger said he’s not confident colleges have any influence on the debate, especially in conservative states.

“I’m not sure that lawmakers are really listening to college administrators on this issue, because it they were, they wouldn’t be enacting it,” he said.

In Florida, every one of the 12 university presidents opposes the law, as do the state’s faculty union and some student government groups. Faculty in Idaho [13] tried to protest enacting the law, and students and faculty [14] in Nevada are starting to organize [15] against a bill there.

In Arkansas, a 2013 law allows faculty with concealed weapon permits to carry guns on campus, but it includes a clause that allows colleges to vote each year on whether they want to opt out. In the two years since, every public and private institution has opted out, according to local media [16].

Colleges are becoming more of a forum for national political debates, and the gun issue is an example of that, Kruger said.

More campuses are seeing well-funded organizations bring in money and legal resources to interpret university policies, he said. The external influence brings a level of sophistication to the campaigns that’s beyond the student activism of the past.

"I don't know that there's much we can do to prevent it, nor should we," he said. "It's just a dynamic on campus that's new."


Students and Violence [17]
Student Victims of Violence [18]
Students as Potential Threats [19]
Source URL: https://www.insidehighered.com/news...aining-steam?width=775&height=500&iframe=true

Links:
[1] https://www.insidehighered.com/audio/week
[2] http://www.insidehighered.com/this-week-sign-up
[3] https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/11/guns
[4] Texas Legislature Online - Website Error
[5] Florida House of Representatives - SB 176 - Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons or Firearms
[6] http://http://politics.heraldtribune.com/2015/03/16/guns-on-campus-bill-moves-forward/
[7] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/19/u...e-linked-to-fighting-sexual-assault.html?_r=0
[8] 2014 concealed weapons law costs Idaho colleges $3.7 million | Idaho Legislature | Idahostatesman.com
[9] Campus carry would cost Texas colleges millions - Houston Chronicle
[10] Statistics on Texas CHLs Age 18-23 (01-01-15)
[11] 2015 Empty Holster Protest ? March 30 ? April 3, 2015
[12] CU employee charged in accidental shooting in medical office - The Denver Post
[13] https://www.insidehighered.com/news...ulty-weigh-options-campus-gun-law-goes-effect
[14] Rally against 'campus carry' bill set at UNR
[15] Protesters oppose campus carry bill, question UNLV?s silence on the issue | Las Vegas Review-Journal
[16] Bill to allow guns on college campuses advances | Arkansas News
[17] https://www.insidehighered.com/news/focus/students-and-violence
[18] https://www.insidehighered.com/news/news-sections/student-victims-violence
[19] https://www.insidehighered.com/news/news-sections/students-potential-threats
 

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I would like to see this bill pass in all states. It would be the students choice..
 

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I sincerely hope it passes in Texas. It's ridiculously stupid that going onto a *state owned campus* somehow magically rescinds my constitutional right to defend myself. It's been voted on in committee and should go to the full house now...
 

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Yes, in Wisconsin you can CCW on college campuses, but unfortunately most if not all college's post signs prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons in buildings on campus..

On a related note, there is a new piece of legislation going through the State Capital right now that would allow both retired and active off-duty LEO's, to CCW in elementary/middle/high schools. Currently it is a felony if you can believe that. So right now as a retired LEO I can't pull in the high school parking lot to pick up my daughter unless I unload and encase my pistol...what a frickin joke. I can, however, as a Wisc. CCW license holder, park in front of school to pick up or drop off my daughter with my loaded pistol on my waist.
 

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As long as the bill only applies to state schools I am all for it. Private universities should be allowed to choose for themselves under 30.06.
 

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I just had a "discussion" with the head security officer at my college. He observed me reading an issue of Concealed Carry Magazine and decided to start a conversation(read as "pick a fight") that ended with him red in the face and feeling pretty dumb. I guess he thought he could use inflated and falsified statistics reported through liberal groups like MDA to justify his position against guns on campus. Boy was he wrong...
 

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I disagree with the private school issue. If the state (fill in the blank) licenses a person to carry in that state they should be able to defend themselves/others in any place they have legal standing to be; such as a student or employee of said school.
 
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