Recent bill could change weapon policies on college campuses

Information provided by the Ohio Attorneys General Office. 2016 Concealed Carry License Statistics. (Quarter four has not been released)

Lydia Taylor

The Ohio Legislature announced last month that all universities and colleges in Ohio will be allowed to make their own policies concerning concealed weapon carry on campus beginning March 21.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 199 last month. The new legislation will allow concealed weapon carry to be per- mitted on campuses — providing a school allows it — and will allow concealed carry on the grounds of select government build- ings, daycare centers and airport terminals, according to cleveland.com.

SB 199 will also permit current military members to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

“The more guns that are out there, the more problems seem to occur,” Gregory Stone, a political science professor, said. “I’ll argue both sides because I know what the other side is, but personally, I don’t think guns should be on campus.”

Stone said he believes the increased amount of publicity in recent years surrounding the topic of guns formed paranoia among lawmakers, which resulted in the passing of SB 199.

“When it comes to letting colleges decide what they want to do with this bill, I would much rather concealed carry not be allowed anywhere,” Stone said. “It makes me uncomfortable that some colleges may decide otherwise, but again, it’s going to be up to them. It depends on the college.”

As of right now, Kent State’s deadly weapon policy establishes “The possession, storage, or use of a deadly weapon by students, staff, faculty, third parties doing business with the university, and visitors is prohibited inside any university building, facility, or vehicle, that is owned, operated or leased by the university.”

The policy was revised and approved in Sept. of 2016 in a Board of Trustees meeting.

“The university policy on deadly weapons as approved in September represents the board’s position on this issue and we have no plans for further action,” Board Chair Lawrence Pollock said.

Junior zoology major Marvin Owens said law enforcement should be the only exception for allowing guns on campus.

“My opinion would be to stay with the current policy,” Owens said. “There really is no need for weapons, even if there are no harmful intentions made.”

Zachary Aichele, a sophomore exploratory major, said he does not understand why the bill was signed because he said he believes there is no need for guns on college campuses. 

“I think that this bill is ridiculous,” Aichele said. “For what reason do you need a gun on a college campus? Arming civilians isn’t going to prevent school shootings, and in my opinion, it would make an active shooter event more likely simply because no questions would be raised about why someone had a gun on campus.”

Aichele said he hopes Kent State will prohibit concealed weapon carry on campus to maintain campus safety.

Scott Rainey, a junior political science major, likes the thought of allowing a college to pick its own policy for concealed weapon carry.

“I do like that instead of saying ‘all colleges are open carry now,’ the college is allowed to make their own rules,” Rainey said. “I like that because a lot of colleges understand college students. They understand the stress that is involved and colleges might air on the side of caution.”

Dillon Coventry, a sophomore aeronautics major, said he is in favor of the bill and said he believes the university should consider the opportunity of making its own policy.

“I think it’s a good bill to pass, and if Kent State doesn’t like the bill, that’s absolutely fine,” Coventry said. “They have every right to make sure concealed carry is still banned. I know they’re only looking out for you and (me).”

Lydia Taylor is an assigning editor, contact her at [email protected]