Bill would let some college students tote guns
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Thread: Bill would let some college students tote guns

  1. #1
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    Bill would let some college students tote guns

    Saturday, December 08, 2007
    By BRIAN LYMAN
    Capital Bureau

    MONTGOMERY -- A state senator from Shelby County has pre-filed a bill that would allow college students who meet certain requirements to bring firearms on campus.

    State Sen. Hank Erwin, R-Montevallo, who originally proposed the bill in the waning days of the 2007 legislative session, said it is needed to protect students. Similar arguments were made in other state legislatures after a massacre at Virginia Tech earlier this year, but critics say such proposals reflect a misunderstanding of campus safety issues and actually could make campuses far more dangerous.

    Erwin's bill as written would allow a student to carry a firearm on campus if he or she has no prior felony or misdemeanor convictions, secures a gun license, belongs to an ROTC program and completes a gun skills course.

    The proposal would apply to public colleges and universities, not private institutions. It does not address the issue of whether students would be able to carry a concealed firearm or what types of firearms -- handguns or rifles -- would be allowed. The bill does not specify that faculty members would be permitted to carry firearms.

    "I know college administrations are doing everything in the world to make campuses safe and sound," Erwin said. "I want to make sure we don't have any holes in the safety net. We're living in a such a society now (that) people with evil motives can penetrate that safety net."

    Source: AL.com Security director

    Melvin Owens, executive director of security and public safety at Auburn University, said firearms are allowed on campus for ROTC exercises, but are otherwise limited to law enforcement personnel. Owens said he would be "hesitant" to allow students to carry firearms.

    "It's simply a safety factor," he said. "It really presents an unknown that's difficult to create contingencies for."

    Erwin introduced his bill in the 2007 legislative session a few weeks after a student with a history of mental problems killed 33 students and faculty and himself at Virginia Tech. The shooting sparked a debate over gun possession on campuses.

    A Virginia Tech Review Panel report commissioned by The Commonwealth of Virginia said data on the effects of carrying guns on campus was "incomplete and inconclusive.

    The report, issued in August, noted concerns from the head of the American Psychiatric Association about increased risk of suicides and assault with a larger gun supply on campus. It added that students told the panel they were uncomfortable with the possibility of attending classes with armed students or professors.

    A 2005 report by the U.S. Justice Department found that killings on college campuses, though tragic, are relatively rare. The report, noting a general decline in violent crime directed at students between 1995 and 2002, found 93 percent of violent incidents involving college students took place off campus.

    But Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, a Springfield, Va.-based group that calls itself the only "no-compromise gun lobby" in Washington, D.C., said there is "no reason" students should be forbidden from carrying guns on campus. The group opposes regulations on gun possession at all school levels.

    "It's a very bad idea to tell anybody a gun-free zone is a safety zone," Pratt said. "It's only a safety zone for criminals."

    Brian Siebel, a senior attorney with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and author of a report on attempts to loosen gun regulations on college campuses, said that having guns on campus could lead those committing crimes to pack more firepower, while also increasing the risk of accidental shootings by armed students who intervene.

    Skeptical

    Siebel was also skeptical of the requirements in Erwin's bill.

    "This is a one-time skills course," he said. "Does the fact people have taken a drivers' ed course mean there are no irresponsible drivers on highway? Obviously not."

    Erwin, who said ROTC students were the best qualified to carry guns on campus, did not speculate on the bill's prospects.

    "I think there's a ways to go before it becomes a bill that makes it to the floor of the Senate," he said. "But the important thing is we've started a dialogue."


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  3. #2
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    Good bill, but why should it be limited to ROTC students? Suppose someone who is a student and has a license (but is not an ROTC student and has not completed a gun skills course) is on campus when a madman starts shooting up the the place, and he fires the shot that kills the gunman. Will he be prosecuted? All I'm saying is that this bill needs to be written to protect everyone, not just those who meet certain criteria.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by tattedupboy View Post
    Good bill, but why should it be limited to ROTC students? Suppose someone who is a student and has a license (but is not an ROTC student and has not completed a gun skills course) is on campus when a madman starts shooting up the the place, and he fires the shot that kills the gunman. Will he be prosecuted? All I'm saying is that this bill needs to be written to protect everyone, not just those who meet certain criteria.
    It's a foot in the door that will set a precedent where there was none previously. Next they could allow retired and current LE and military, and then maybe everyone.

    It's also a great recruitment tool for ROTC. You're not obligated to military service for the first two years of the program.
    Silent Running, by Mike and the Mechanics

  5. #4
    I read the Bill and as to the ROTC only bit, I agree and I think that is why it says this: "Is a participant in an ROTC program at the college or university or approved by the college or university." [empisis added]

    I guess so long as you get approved by the university you should be ok, or at least I hope, I plan on attending Auburn University in the future, so I hope this gets passed.

    Here is a link to the Bill: View SB18,,

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