GREAT OUTDOORS

Ohio State Attack Spurs Calls for Campus Carry Law

This week, a man attacked innocent people on the Ohio State University campus with a vehicle and a knife, seriously injuring 11 people, before being shot and killed by a campus police officer.

Now, in the aftermath of the attack, a bill that would reduce the penalty for carrying a concealed firearm on a university campus from a felony to a misdemeanor may be passed by the Ohio Senate. The OSU campus is designated as a gun-free zone.

This story from townhall.com says HB 48, which can be read here, is sponsored by state Rep. Ron Maag and reduces the penalty for carrying a gun on a college campus and also permits universities in the state to make their own policies regarding concealed handguns on campus.

This story from wkyc.com says the Ohio House passed the measure with a vote of 68-29 last year, which lowers the penalty for bringing a permitted firearm onto a college campus that bans weapons to a low-grade misdemeanor. The bill was already scheduled to be considered in Senate committee this week before the attack occurred.

The story says Cleveland State University students were split over whether more permitted guns on campus would provide more safety or risk.

Some are in favor of having permitted teachers and faculty carry guns, but not students, the story says. Others say campus police provide enough protection against incidents like the OSU attack.

In Ohio, as in most states, concealed carry permit holders must be 21 years old. This would, by default, exclude most undergraduate student bodies at colleges and universities.

The story says opponents of the bill testified on Tuesday before an Ohio Senate Committee, which will then pass it on to the Senate, which is expected to vote on and approve the measure next week, the story says.

The bill would also allow CCW permit carriers to be armed in day care centers and public areas of police stations and airports.

The townhall.com story says the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police is opposed to the bill and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association “has reservations about the legislation’s implications.”

According to armedcampuses.org, 10 states allow concealed carry on college campuses including Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Texas, Tennessee, which allow all CCW guns to be carried everywhere, and Oregon, Kansas, Wisconsin, Arkansas, and Mississippi, which allow concealed carry that is restricted by schools as to location or individuals who can carry.

Reports say that Ohio State students are divided on the issue. One student, as reported by the Columbus Dispatch, told the Ohio legislature out that campuses are easy targets: “College campuses and the areas surrounding them present environments rich with potential victims,” Tarak Underiner, an Ohio State student and member of university’s chapter of Students for Concealed Carry, told a Senate committee. “They’re willing to gamble we’re unarmed and it pays off."