Guns on Campus: The Legalities

by Madeline Reinbolt

“Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state,” is State Constitutional Provision Article 1, Section 6. At the ae of 18 or up, it is legal to buy a pistol with a purchase permit, which can be obtained at the local police station. A CCW, “carrying a concealed weapon”, becomes an option for someone that is at least 21 and takes the required class. This is Michigan state law, and on college campuses, gun laws are a different story.

In Michigan, concealed guns on campus is prohibited by law. Other states, such Texas, Colorado and Utah allow concealed guns on campus by law. Then there are states that leave it up to the universities to decide, whether it [concealed carry] is allowed by state law or not. In 2017, Arkansas and Georgia passed legislation to allow students and faculty to carry guns on college campuses.

With school shootings on the rise in the past decades, states are considering legislation about whether or not to allow guns on campuses. Some people believe these events point to a need to tighten restrictions to keep guns off campuses, and other believe existing firearm regulations should be eased, and allow concealed weapons on campus.

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On August 1st, 2016 the campus carry law went into effect in Texas. On September 14th, 2016 there was the first incident: an accidental discharge in a residence hall at Tarleton State. The student was trained and licensed to carry, and nobody was injured as a result of the incident. The incident was followed by outrage as a reaction to the law campus carry law being passed in the first place, but no other incidents have occurred since.

Ohio laws expanding the concealed carry law went into effect this March. The new law will allow anyone with a concealed carry license to carry their firearms in more places such as daycare facilities and non-secure areas of airports. The law will also allow college campuses to make the decision to allow people or groups to conceal carry on campus. Since the law has passed, no colleges have made the decision to permit conceal carry on campus.

Ohio’s concealed carry laws came into focus after the November 28th attack at Ohio State University. Eleven students were injured after Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove his car into a group of students and then got out of the car to knife them. Two minutes into the attack, an OSU police officer shot and killed Artan.

According to a study done by the Citizens Crime Commission, shootings on college campuses have more than doubled in the past five years. The incidents have become more deadly, with three times as many people injured or killed during the most recent five-year period. The increase was found to be the most profound at colleges in states with a greater amount of access to guns.

Geoff Larcom, Executive Director of Media Relations at Eastern Michigan University, does not see any benefits to anyone carrying a gun on campus aside from the campus police. “That’s the problem with guns, trained professionals can use them but they [guns] are killing machines,” said Larcom. Conceal carry is prohibited on college campuses in Michigan by state law, but aside from that Larcom said he does not see Eastern Michigan permitting conceal carry in the future, if it became an option to do so.

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Due to things like the increase in school shootings and a new President, it is hard to predict how things will pan out as for laws pertaining to guns on college campuses. Many Americans have either a strong support or opposition for guns, and new bills are constantly being proposed. For now, it is safe to say that you won’t see student or faculty concealing and carrying on campus anytime soon.

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