Gun control: Will campus carry get boost from Virginia Tech ruling?
In a decision that could impact gun control nationwide, a Virginia judge on Wednesday awarded the families of two victims of the Virginia Tech massacre $8 million. Advocates of campus carry say they will use the ruling to press for more gun rights on campuses.
(Page 2 of 2)
But gun-rights groups are starting to make some headway.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures American Gun Culture
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
- Mississippi has allowed campus carry with a special permit.
- Virginia has allowed non-students to carry on the general campus (even at Virginia Tech).
- Wisconsin now allows legal concealed carry on campus (but not in buildings).
- Courts in both Oregon and Colorado have struck down college-system bans on gun carry. Utah is the only state to allow unrestricted campus carry.
Sensing that momentum, anti-campus-carry forces are also gearing up. This week in Atlanta a group of activists lobbied in the Georgia House of Representatives, which recently voted down a campus-carry law despite concern at Georgia Tech about a growing number of students falling victim to violent crimes near the campus.
Fearing that lawmakers would tack a campus-carry amendment onto another bill, Colin Goddard, a Virginia Tech survivor, asserted that campus carry "will greatly increase the number of shootings, the number of bullets flying on a college campus. I fundamentally don't believe guns have a place on a college campus."
College campuses continue to be affected by gun violence. In 2008, a gunman killed four people and then himself on the campus of Northern Illinois University. This week, authorities arrested a student for threatening to start shooting at the University of Maryland in College Park, vowing “to kill enough people to make it to the national news.” And last week, a gunman killed one person and wounded six at a psychiatric clinic at the University of Pittsburgh before being shot and killed by police.
While continuing to fight campus-carry laws, American universities have spent millions since the Virginia Tech shooting to beef up security, adding new e-mail and phone alert systems, electronic message signs in classrooms, and campus loudspeakers.
Campus-carry proponents say such efforts are not enough.
“Frankly, we don't want guns on campuses, either, but we're trying to convince colleges that they need more than signs,” says Mr. Burnett. “It's just naive and dangerous that they continue to assert that signs are sufficient to protect college campuses.”
Get daily or weekly updates from CSMonitor.com delivered to your inbox. Sign up today.