University Prepares for Handgun Safety

Lydia Montague, Student Reporter

A small safety committee is working to prepare Marshall University for the introduction of concealed handguns on campus, according to Senate Bill 10—or the “Campus Self-Defense Act”—which will take effect in July 2024. 

Jim Terry, Marshall University chief of police, says a group of several senior VP’s are preparing with tentative planning and help from other affected organizations.

“We have been working behind the scenes before it passed, and now, we’re moving forward,” Terry said. “The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission is going to help us. I’ve reached out to other schools that already have campus carry and are speaking with them to see what they did. Once we come out of our sessions, we’re going to go to a broader campus-based group and meet with a bigger group of all the impacted.”

In a message from University President Brad Smith, he discussed the committee and how the administration has been “engaged, consistent and transparent in our concerns.”

“We attended committee meetings, met with legislative members and sent out statements to government leaders throughout this process,” Smith said. “We must come together as a community and work through the implications as they relate to the overall safety of our campuses and centers.”

Terry says the committee is also involved with other campuses and out-of-state schools that have had similar experiences with the bill.

“I’ve been reaching out to other campus police officers, and I’ve reached out to another state who’s already had campus carry since 2017 to see what they did and have similar legislation to West Virginia’s legislation,” Terry said.

The HEPC has been contacted by the committee, and Terry said they’ve “been bringing in some people to help us out.”

Meanwhile, Smith said, “Working with the Higher Education Policy Commission and other colleges/universities across the state, the group will deliver its final recommendations relating to our overall campus safety prior to the implementation date.”