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Students speak in opposition to Campus Self-Defense Act

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Students speak in opposition to Campus Self-Defense Act

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The West Virginia House of Delegates held a public hearing Monday, Feb. 11, concerning House Bill 2519. This bill regards to the legality of concealed and open carry on campuses of higher education institutions. 

Currently, universities are allowed to participate in the regulation of firearms on university grounds. At its core, this bill seeks to overturn that stance and grants permission to those who obtain a license to carry a concealed or deadly weapon to do so on campus.

Individuals from various workforces and backgrounds spoke at the public hearing. Educators, parents, business professionals and Marshall University students gave input on the proposed bill.

Ashley Moore, a sophomore, and Student Government President Hunter Barclay both attended and spoke in opposition to the bill and the impact it would have on Marshall.

“My greatest concern with HB 2519 is that it will greatly complicate the jobs of the brave men and women of law enforcement,” Barclay said. “At the hearing on the bill, police officers from Marshall, WVU, Fairmont University, the West Virginia Sheriff’s Association and several municipalities voiced their opposition to this bill because it would lead to less safe campuses. Whenever the police officers whom students trust with their lives stand against this bill in solidarity, it is indicative that this bill would have the unintended effect of decreasing student safety.”

When asked about why students at Marshall should care about the contents of this bill, both Moore and Barclay stressed the importance this of this bill for fellow students.

“Having guns on campus can cause seemingly harmless situations like petty arguments, and heated debates could possibly turn deadly because of the easy access to guns if they were allowed [on campus],” Moore said.

“Students should be concerned about this bill because it will make the jobs of campus police officers more difficult, which in turn, could have an adverse effect on their safety,” Barclay said. “The bill also does not include any additional funding for universities to train their students on proper firearm safety or funding to meet the bill’s requirements, meaning this is an unfunded mandate that will place greater strain on campus law enforcement.”

HB2519 is set to be sent off to House Judiciary Feb. 18. More information on the bill, including the full text, can be found on the West Virginia Legislature website at www.wvlegislature.gov, and the footage from the public hearing is found by visiting the WV House of Delegates Facebook page.

Trey Delida can be contacted at [email protected]

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