Monday's attack at Ohio State University has renewed calls to allow students to carry concealed handguns on public college campuses.The gun ban crowd promptly responded with a commonly heard refrain that adding armed civilians to the mix would make it hard to determine who the good guys were and that the scene would be chaos. Never mind there is no evidence that has been the case in the past.
Current law prohibits such weapons on campuses, but the state Senate is expected this week to consider a bill in lame-duck session to allow schools to decide for themselves whether to allow those with concealed-carry permits to carry on campus.
Even on campuses where the bans would remain in place, a violation would be reduced to a minor misdemeanor, eliminating the risk of jail time if the offender proves within 10 days that he has a legal permit to carry.
"Fortunately, an OSU police officer was close by and able to shoot and kill the suspect to stop the attack," said Jim Irvine, president of the Buckeye Firearms Association. "But even so, those being attacked were unable to defend themselves effectively because Ohio law forbids carrying a concealed handgun on school campuses, even if school authorities may be willing to allow it."
The Ohio State University campus newspaper notes there is a bill winding it's way through the state legislature that would allow an "opt-in" provision for campuses that want to allow campus carry:
House Bill 48, as it is referred to, passed in the Ohio House of Representatives a year ago, but is now working its way through Ohio’s Senate. The bill would allow concealed carry-permit holders to carry guns inside day care facilities and within certain areas of police stations and airports.The OSU President is not in favor of the idea.
The legislation includes an “opt-in clause” for public universities, allowing institutions to independently decide whether students can carry or not. For universities that decide not to opt-in, House Bill 48 would reduce the charges of licensees carrying on campus from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Campus Carry will again be on the agenda in several states in 2017 and will likely pass in some. Virginia has yet to seriously consider bills introduced on the subject and with Governor Terry McAuliffe in office, is not expected to give any attention to the bills this year either.