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Marshall faculty, students to protest ‘Campus Carry’ bill

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HB 2519, also known as the “Campus Carry” bill, is currently in high debate as faculty and students at Marshall and other universities in West Virginia await a ruling.

Despite the fact that the bill, if passed, would cost West Virginia over $10 million to implement, it bypassed the House Finance Committee. The bill went straight into the West Virginia House of Representatives, where it passed 51-47, and then moved into the West Virginia Senate.

Some individuals feel that HB 2519 is not getting the public attention it needs and deserves, and some faculty and students at Marshall and on West Virginia University’s campus aren’t settling for anything less than a vetoed bill.

Thursday, from 12 to 2 p.m., WVU faculty members participated in a walkout on their campus in protest of the bill, and their actions of protesting and spreading information on the bill reached Marshall. Both campuses are now working together to not only get the word out on HB 2519 but to also work to ensure that the bill gets vetoed.

“Friday, at 9a.m., we are protesting HB 2519 at (the) West Virginia Capitol,” said Hilary Brewster, a Marshall English professor who is a strong advocate for the bill’s veto. “For a variety of reasons, we are against the concept of guns on campus, whether they are concealed or out in the open, but especially concealed, and I imagine most students would feel the same.”

If HB 2519 were to pass, it would allow guns in most spaces on campus, including classrooms, dorms and other buildings affiliated with campus. Some exceptions include large events, daycare facilities, and private offices.

At 10:08 a.m., Marshall President Jerry Gilbert released a statement on HB 2519 which read as follows: “Marshall University remains steadfast in its opposition to guns on college campuses. The safety and security of our students, faculty, and staff is of paramount importance to us and this legislation threatens the very foundation of that responsibility. I am opposed and remain opposed to guns on campus. This is a very serious issue and one I believe should be made by our Board of Governors.”

In an earlier meeting, at the public hearing, Marshall Police Chief Jim Terry said guns on campus are dangerous for three main reasons.

 Terry said one reason is because, in an emergency when multiple guns are raised, a police officer cannot discern who is making the threat and will therefore likely fire on multiple people, including the innocent.

Terry said the second reason is that people with a concealed carry permit only have a short training period and are not likely to be able to defend themselves or others in an emotional emergency situation.

Terry said the third reason is that students are very likely to store their guns in backpacks and other unsecured areas where they could accidentally be fired or stolen.

An “open letter,” or online petition, concerning the bill can be found at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1psekrlWskVmvOQfz7o6ULsblzgaWiv-b1lGBIuL72VU/edit.

Mackenzie Jones can be contacted at j[email protected]

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