Legislators in West Virginia are seeking to force colleges and universities to allow firearms on campus - a move the bill's opponents say will make campuses less safe.
[T]he House of Delegates is considering a bill that would force public colleges and universities in West Virginia to allow people to carry guns on their campuses and inside their buildings, including dormitories and classrooms. The House Education Committee has already approved the bill, and it’s been moved to the House Judiciary Committee, where it remained as of Wednesday.
Currently, leaders of West Virginia’s colleges are allowed to exercise their judgment as to whether to allow guns on their campuses — and it appears that none of them do so.
One of the bill's sponsors, Delegate Jim Butler, R-Mason, said the language is borrowed from a template set forth by the National Rifle Association.
But not all are on board with the measure, and Wednesday's school shooting in Florida could chill lukewarm support even further.
“I don’t want gun-toting students on campus, and I don’t want gun-toting faculty and staff and administrators on campus,” said Anthony Jenkins, president of West Virginia State University, as reported by the Gazette-Mail‘s Ryan Quinn.
Jenkins said college campuses are “grounds where we use our emotional intelligence and our intellectual capacity to agree to disagree, and to interject weapons changes the very foundation of what higher education is supposed to be about.”
Though lawmakers are ready to push firearms on campuses, they are unwilling to permit guns in their own halls:
A move to do so a few years ago in the House of Delegates — made by a pro-gun-control lawmaker to highlight her colleagues’ hypocrisy — was resoundingly defeated.