More states warming up to allowing college students to carry guns

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Lily Choi | The Oswegonian

There is some conversation in several states about allowing college students to carry guns on their campuses.

On March 19, the Texas State Senate approved a bill, which would allow students to carry concealed handguns on college campuses, according to TIME magazine. The bill has since been passed on to the Texas House of Representatives.

The law would state that only students over the age of 21 would be able to take advantage of the law, this being the minimum age allowed to carry a concealed handgun in Texas, according to the Texas Tribune.

If passed, Texas would join Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Mississippi who already allow it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

KXAN, an NBC affiliate in Texas, reported that a group known as Everytown for Gun Safety has released a commercial in a number of cities in Texas to combat the undecided law. The commercial also stated that 72 percent of Texans are opposed to allowing guns on campus under any circumstance.

In the state of New York, the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act makes it considerably difficult for citizens to obtain fire arms, let alone have them on a college campus. Had a bill such as the one in Texas somehow been passed in New York, it would be met with virtually no support, according to associate dean of students at Oswego State Lisa Evaneski. She said she would have a problem with guns being allowed on the campus.

“We see a lot of behavior related to the use of alcohol and other drugs that includes damage to property, violence toward others and other dangerous situations,” Evaneski said. “I would be concerned if guns were allowed on campus and if somebody was using or abusing alcohol and other drugs, that it could increase the likelihood of a gun-related incident.”

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that every year nearly 600,000 college students are accidentally injured in incidents involving alcohol.

Margaret Ryniker, chairman of the public justice department at Oswego State, shared in Evaneski’s fears of dangerous occurrences if guns were to be allowed on the campus.

“Personally, I see no way that such a law could be a positive for colleges,” Ryniker said. “I do not see a place or a need for concealed hand guns on college campuses. For what positive purpose would one carry a concealed handgun on a college campus?”

Oswego State already has a tough system banning guns. In 2012, a resident assistant at Oswego State was caught hiding a paintball gun in his room and was subsequently forced to move out and was fired from his position, as previously reported by The Oswegonian in “Gun policy puts RA in crosshairs.”

Oswego State University Police Chief John Rossi said if a student is caught on campus with a weapon, the punishment would include an interim suspension, which would then be heard by the Office of Student Conduct. In addition to this, Rossi said the student would either answer to the town or county court, depending on the severity of the charges.

Though there will be no such law allowing guns to be carried at Oswego State in the near future, the opinion of not seeing a need, along with fear of misconduct remains the same between prominent figures in the state of Texas and colleges such as Oswego State.