INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A bill introduced this session at the statehouse would allow students with permits to carry guns on state-supported college campuses.
The legislation was written after students approached lawmakers wanting to carry for their own protection.
Senate Bill 97 was introduced by Republican Sen. Jim Banks.
It prohibits a state agency, including a state-supported university, from regulating the possession of guns.
“It’s not just a liberty, but it’s for our safety, and it’s personal for a lot of us,” said IU sophomore Crayle Vanest. She’s the president of IU’s chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.
“We want to enjoy the same rights on campus, that we have anywhere else we go, at the grocery store, at the mall, on our commute, at night when we're walking to the bus stop,” she said.
There are similar student groups at Purdue, IUPUI and Ball State, among others, all hoping someday students with permits will be allowed to carry. A national group on Facebook has thousands of members.
“It’s not the university's place to say you can have the Bill of Rights or an education. And it’s not a matter of saying, 'I’ll go to a different school,' because almost all schools in the nation have policies like this,” Vanest said.
Guns are prohibited on all Indiana University campuses, with the exception of law enforcement.
There are similar policies at Purdue, Ball State and other public universities across the state.
IU spokesperson Mark Land said the school is against the bill.
“All we know is that we’re concerned with the overall safety of our students, employees and our guests on campus,” he said. “Introducing additional element of firearms on campus just isn’t something that is conducive to a safe learning environment.”
Purdue University Police Department Chief John Cox said it would add further danger into the volatile college atmosphere.
“I think introducing firearms into a situation where you have young people, where there’s alcohol or other substance abuse going on, and who may make poor choices due to being under the influence, I think you’re going to make the situation worse,” he said.
Vanest disputed that, saying: “We're responsible, we encourage responsibility … . If somebody's going to meet you with deadly force, some people want to be prepared for that. I want to be prepared for that.”
The bill was sent to the rules committee.
There are only a few states that allow concealed carry on public college campuses. More than 20 states have banned concealed carry on campuses.
In Indiana, the decision to ban firearms is made by each college.
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ciorciari1 | January 15 2013 8:19am
Just another ridiculous idea. Let's just fight fire with more fire. Having the ability to carry guns to school is a horrible idea. We cannot allow this action to take place. Guns are never the answer.
Reeves90 | January 8 2013 11:15pm
Whether I am at work, school or in the public sector, numerous people have approached me and made the suggestion that the violence clearly calls for more "Gun free zones." By the logic these individuals present, if guns are not allowed, there will definitely be a significant drop in violence in these areas.
I contend that the largest shootings in the past year have taken place in a "Gun free zone" namely the theater shooting and that in the Connecticut elementary school.
Guns are not allowed in schools, this is common knowledge. In fact, a school parking lot is determined to be part of the school; therefore an individual with a conceal carry permit is not allowed to get out of their car if there is a gun inside while on school grounds. (Read: They can't even leave a gun in a locked compartment in their car on school property)
This has not stopped the elementary school shooting, nor the one at Virginia Tech not that long ago.
Why then is it our solution now? Why do we ask for more control on where individuals can carry and therefore create more "gun free zones".
I obtained my concealed carry permit within 3 months of my 18th birthday. I have carried a concealed carry weapon nearly everywhere I go for the last 4 years. The two exceptions being work and school. Essentially, if I am wearing jeans, I have a gun somewhere on my person. Do I have any great desire to use this weapon? No, but that would not stop me from doing so if I or those around me are in a life threatening situation.
One of the hardest decisions I make, is to take my gun off when going to school. Yet I am forced to do it every time. When I remove my gun, I trust an institution with my safety. An institution who has stated that it cannot be everywhere at every time. An institution who's handbook recommends the following for an active shooter scenario: "If there is absolutely no opportunity for escape or hiding, it might be possible to negotiate with the shooter; attempting to overpower the shooter with force should be considered a very last resort, after all other options have been exhausted."
Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis (IUPUI) has a fantastic system in which students receive a text and an e-mail any time something on campus occurs which every student should know about. In the last semester (read 3 months) there have been at least 5 robberies, one of them at gun point, on the school campus. The robbery at gunpoint was in the parking lot which I always utilize while on campus. It is impossible to keep guns out of a "gun free zone" if they are in the hands of someone who intends to do harm.
"Gun free zones" are not literal by nature. Instead, signs which outlaw guns should read "Lots of Innocent Defenseless victims Found Here." The section of the student handbook I selected describes the last ditch efforts for survival. Their first suggestions are "Lock the door, turn off the lights, get down, call 911." These are all good things to do, and will save a lot of lives, but they will not stop the shooter. Nor will negotiating with someone that is intent on causing as much damage as possible before they either takes their own life, or are stopped by police 6-11 minutes after the rampage starts.
There are over 270 million guns in the United States. Statistically it is equivalent to 9 guns for every 10 Americans. As a country, are we naive enough to believe that if someone wants a gun with which to cause harm they will be unable to obtain one?
Should we eliminate some of the loopholes that allow individuals to purchase guns without a background check? Probably. But we must have a comprehensive increase in the locations where law abiding citizens can carry weapons. We must not allow law abiding citizens to be taken as sheep to the slaughter in these "gun free zones". Instead, we must allow ourselves the ability to fight back at a level appropriate to the threat.
Which is a more appealing target, an area where a shooter can cause a lot of damage with little to no threat to themselves for up to 10 minutes, or a place the shooter knows they will get 2 maybe 3 shots off before there is return fire? I submit to you, that individuals will think twice before attempting massacre style shootings if they believe they will die before they can kill more than 2 people.
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