Concealed carry bill could allow guns on W.Va. college campuses

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Concealed carry bill could allow guns on W.Va. college campuses


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A similar bill was introduced several years ago and failed to pass, but the West Virginia House of Representatives introduced The Campus Self Defense Act Jan. 25. House Bill 4298 would allow an individual with a valid gun license to carry a concealed weapon on college campuses. While concealed guns would be allowed on campus and inside the buildings, authorities would still be able to regulate the possession of weapons in stadium settings, daycares located on campus and in law enforcement facilities. The Campus Self Defense Act has been met with varying opinions of Marshall students.

“I think it’s fighting fire with fire, but no one is considering to bring water,” said Kyle Grimes, junior anthropology major. “When the state relaxed gun laws there was a rise in gun related deaths, homicides and accidental shootings caused by inexperienced handling and a culture of violence.”

Grimes also cited “Report: West Virginia has more gun related crime than most states,” a Charleston Gazette-Mail article written by Erin Beck, to defend his stance.

“The authors found that the 10 states with the weakest gun laws have an aggregate level of gun violence that is 3.2 times higher than the 10 states with the strongest gun laws,” Grimes said.

Madi Summers, junior special education major, also sees no reason to allow concealed carry on campus.

“I think the gun regulation laws we have here anyway are irresponsible,” Summers said. “Being able to bring (a gun) on a college campus is ridiculous.”

Summers also mentioned the rise in shootings near campus over the past several months.

On the other hand, Corey Tornes, fifth-year accounting and economics major, said carrying a gun on campus would not pose a threat.

“Some of the same people you encounter on campus will be carrying when you encounter them off campus, and they are imposing no harm to you there.”

Others, like Alec Marshall, senior biology major, see the bill as a positive motion.

“I think it’s a good thing, because it would make me feel safer if I could have a gun.”

Jacob Davis, freshman finance major, agreed and said, “It would make me feel a lot safer. I know a lot of people who carry them and do not have the permit, so if I had one I would feel a lot safer.”

Mason Estep, freshman, also said the bill would be legalizing an act many students already do.

“Given the heroin epidemic and the crime we see in Huntington, I think it would make students a lot safer if they were allowed to carry,” Estep said. “Legal or not, permit or not- people still do it.”

House Bill 4298 was referred to the Committee on Education before moving forward to the Judiciary Committee.

Ginny Blake can be contacted at [email protected]

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