Oklahoma lawmakers in showdown with college leaders over guns on campus

OKLAHOMA CITY Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:28pm EDT

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OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Two Oklahoma lawmakers are pushing to have college students and faculty carrying firearms, a move they said would enhance safety on campuses but university presidents said is an unnecessary plan that could cause chaos.

The state legislators said this week they want to end a current ban on licensed firearms carriers from bringing guns to campuses.

“If there were a predator out there whose prey is young college-aged women and he wanted to assault them, where would he go to do that? He would go to a place where they are vulnerable, where they are unarmed ... and that is a college campus,” said Republican Senator Ralph Shortey, who is leading the push with Republican Representative John Enns.

The move comes after a rash of shootings at U.S. schools and universities has prompted fresh calls to supplement police and university security forces.

If gun legislation passes in Oklahoma, the state would join Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin in allowing some sort of concealed weapons on campuses.

In July, Idaho enacted a measure allowing law enforcement officers and people with enhanced concealed carry permits to bring guns on campus, over the objections of Boise State University President Bob Kustra.

Oklahoma’s two largest universities – the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University – have spoken against the measure, and other colleges are following suit.

"Placing guns on campus, except in the hands of highly trained law enforcement officers and professionals, would be a serious mistake and would lead only to tragic results," University of Oklahoma President David Boren said.

The lawmakers contend a student has a one-in-five chance of being assaulted during their time at college. But crime statistics provided by the state's universities show otherwise.

The University of Oklahoma, with about 30,000 students, said it had one aggravated assault on campus in 2010, one in 2011 and none in 2012. The U.S. Justice Department has said nationally more than 90 percent of violent crimes where college students are victims occur off campus.

Republican lawmakers are calling for studies about violence on university campuses and how to best introduce more firearms, with university leaders saying crime numbers show the study is unwarranted.

“What problem are we trying to solve?” said University of Central Oklahoma President Don Betz. "We don’t need more people on campus with guns."

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Jim Loney)

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Comments (2)
vincewarde wrote:
The idea that people with CCW permits somehow present a threat is absurd and has no basis in reality. We now have 30 years experience with citizen CCW and it is nearly universally positive. See this highly sourced post for more information: http://reasonedpolitics.blogspot.com/2014/07/what-if-we-could-test-effect-of-more.html

There is also little question that so called “gun free zones” have a greatly increased incidence of random mass shootings. In other words, banning guns makes a location more dangerous, not less dangerous. What criminal or mentally ill individual is going to look at a “no guns allowed” sign and say to themselves, “I guess I can’t rob or kill people here, they don’t let guns in.” Absurd isn’t it? But these signs do reassure these same people that they are unlikely to face armed opposition. Unless, of course, someone with a carry permit – like Dr. Silverman – ignores the signs too. Here is another well sourced post on this subject: http://reasonedpolitics.blogspot.com/2014/06/an-open-letter-to-business-being.html

Aug 01, 2014 2:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
1911er wrote:
You can bet your butts that the people that are saying no carry for their own protection.

Aug 04, 2014 2:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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