University Leaders Fail: Measures to Broaden Gun-Carry Rights on College Campuses FalterPosted: May 23, 2015
Bills hampered by university leaders’ resistance, even in gun-friendly states
Of the 15 “campus carry” bills introduced earlier this year, none has passed.
“Nathan Scott, a former student at Florida State University who was shot in the leg in the school’s library by a gunman last November, said that having a gun would have helped him defend himself.”
Measures in 11 states have already effectively died, including in Florida, where gun-rights supporters had high hopes before two bills stalled before reaching floor votes.
And on Thursday, the Nevada senate defeated an 11th-hour move to tuck campus carry into a broader firearms measure, likely dooming the effort this year. Bills in at least two other states are expected to fail soon as well.
“If I had been armed, I would have shot the killer before he shot me, absolutely. It’s ridiculous that students aren’t able to carry.”
— Nathan Scott
Attention is now focused on lawmakers in Texas, who could vote to expand campus carry soon, in the waning days of the legislative session. A win in Texas, which could come as early as next week, could help keep the effort alive and provide momentum heading into 2016.
“Permit holders are more law-abiding than the general public, and there’s just no reason their constitutional rights should stop at the borders of a college or university.”
— Jennifer Baker, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association
The push to allow those with concealed-carry permits to carry firearms on campus picked up following the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech University, in which 33 people, including the gunman, were killed.
The National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups say students should have had the ability to defend themselves with firearms.
“Advocates of looser laws concerning guns on college campuses say that students trained with a gun would be better positioned to fend off a host of potential crimes, from sexual assaults to a Virginia Tech-style mass shooting.”
The U.S. Supreme Court, in its seminal 2008 ruling called District of Columbia v. Heller, found that the Second Amendment protects one’s right to possess a gun inside the home for self-defense. But the court didn’t say precisely when that right can be exercised in public. Since then, lower courts have wrestled with how to apply the Heller ruling to gun bans in public places, and legal experts think the Supreme Court will likely take up the question in another case before too long.
Meanwhile, states have generally been loosening their strictures on guns on campus, though there still exists little uniformity across the country on the issue. Lawmakers this term have proposed easing the rules even more.
A handful of states, including Utah, Colorado, Idaho and Mississippi, allow guns on public campuses with relatively few restrictions. About 10, including Texas, allow guns only in locked cars in campus parking lots. Several others, including California, Nevada and Pennsylvania, allow the schools themselves to make decisions. About a dozen others, including New York, Missouri and Louisiana, ban guns on public campuses altogether…. (read more)
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