MUNCIE, Ind. – A small group of students at Ball State University says students should have the right to carry concealed weapons on campus to protect themselves in case of an attack.
Junior criminal justice major Blake Graham heads the campus organization called Ball State Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. The group drew about 10 people, most of whom have gun permits, to a meeting this month.
"We feel that it's our right that we need to be able to protect ourselves," Graham said.
But carrying guns on campus is against Ball State University policy. University code states that weapons are prohibited on campus "whether (a person) is licensed to carry the weapon or not."
The Ball State group is a local branch of a national organization, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, which wants to push state legislatures and school administrations to allow concealed handguns on campus for license holders.
Ball State alumnus David Barker founded the local branch last year after the Virginia Tech shooting. On April 16, 2007, 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui fatally shot 32 people in a dorm and a classroom at Virginia Tech, then killed himself in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
"It struck me so emotionally," Barker said. "(I thought) to sit here and feel like I do now and do nothing, what good does that do for society?"
Paul Chandler, the group's faculty advisor and an associate professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, said people with legal permits should be allowed to carry guns on campus.
"The events of about a year or so ago at Virginia Tech demonstrated that gun-free zones amount to spree killer welcome zones," he said. "Had someone had a firearm in Blacksburg, Va., you might not have had 30 some students killed."