Students vouch for concealed carry on campus

Kevin Gareau

Ohio’s concealed weapons law makes it possible for citizens to carry concealed weapons, but college campuses are an exception to the law. Some students, however, don’t think that should be the case.

Stephen Ontko, president of the College Republicans, said students should definitely be allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus.

“I think you shouldn’t differentiate among the population in terms of who should receive Second Amendment rights,” Ontko said. “Students have just as much of a right to defend themselves as anyone else.”

Ontko added concealed weapons on campus could also help in the event of a tragedy such as the Virginia Tech shootings.

“I think Virginia Tech definitely could have been mitigated if people had been able to carry firearms,” Ontko said. “I also think if people were allowed to carry weapons on campus, it would increase the effectiveness of campus police.”

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus is a nationwide group with about 8,000 members.

W. Scott Lewis, media coordinator for the group, said there is no doubt concealed weapons should be allowed on college campuses.

“There is no empirical evidence indicating that the same individuals who legally carry concealed handguns, without incident, in movie theaters, office buildings, shopping malls, grocery stores, banks, churches, etc., would show any less discretion or sound judgment while carrying their firearms on college campuses,” Lewis said.

Lewis also said concealed weapons could have been useful during the Virginia Tech tragedy.

“We can’t say for certain that a licensed individual with a legally concealed handgun could have stopped the Virginia Tech massacre,” Lewis said. “But we can say for certain that it would have evened the odds.”

Crime prevention officer Alice Ickes said there’s no evidence that allowing concealed weapons on campus would have helped during the Virginia Tech shootings.

“It’s completely hypothetical,” Ickes said “Having a concealed weapon could actually help the bad guy’s arsenal. The worst thing in the world is untrained people using weapons.”

Ickes added carrying a weapon is not easy.

“People don’t realize the responsibility you have when you carry a weapon,” Ickes said. “You have to be cognizant of where the weapon is, its condition, if the trigger lock is on, whether it’s loaded or unloaded. It’s a big responsibility.”

Freshman pre-pharmacy major Lindee Wizvari said there are other ways students can defend themselves.

“If you want protection, carry Mace,” Wizvari said.

She said while concealed weapons could have helped stop the Virginia Tech shootings, they also could have made it worse.

“Another person like the gunman could have walked into any building with his concealed weapon and started shooting,” Wizvari said.

Contact safety reporter Kevin Gareau at [email protected]

Concealed Weapons Law:

– In order to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon, applicants must offer proof that they have received competency training to learn how to use the weapon.

– They must also submit to a background check and pay a maximum fee of $45, plus an additional $24 for a background check if the applicant has lived in Ohio for less than five years.

– A license to carry a concealed weapon must be renewed every five years.

Source: Ohio Attorney General’s Office