OSU students form pro-campus carry group as string of robberies continues

by Chad D. Baus

Another student of The Ohio State University has been attacked and robbed near campus, and some students have had enough.

First, from WBNS (CBS Columbus):

Police said that a student was attacked and robbed near the Ohio State campus on Tuesday night.

The crime was part of a string reported in the area over the last few weeks.

According to police, a man was walking in the 1500 block of Neil Avenue, near Eighth Avenue, at about 7:14 p.m. when two men approached the student and implied they had a gun. Then, they forcibly removed the student's backpack, police said.

The area where the crime occurred had some lights but was much darker than the campus area one block north where the sidewalks have more lighting, 10TV's Shayla Reaves reported.

The attack was the fourth this month and the second this week, police said.

Last week, we reported that seven Ohio State students had been victimized in violent robberies, six at gunpoint.

According to uweekly.com, some OSU students have decided they've had enough:

For the thousands of Buckeyes on OSU campus at all times, the threat of crime may be the last thing on their minds. Finals week, Thanksgiving break and scheduling classes approach in the distance as fall quarter rapidly draws to an end.

But should it be the last thing on their minds? OSU student and engineering major Mike Newbern doesn’t think so.

"There have been four incidents in the last two weeks within three blocks of campus," he said. "The important thing to understand is that bad guys are not going to stop getting guns, which is why it's important for us to restore the rights of staff, students and faculty so that they can protect themselves while on campus."

He is talking about restoring conceal carry rights to those on campus, an idea being talked about more frequently in light of the recent crimes.

The article notes that currently, a select few campuses allow CHL holders to carry concealed weapons on school grounds, including Colorado State University, Blue Ridge Community College in Virginia and all public colleges and universities in the state of Utah.

Again from the article:

In the past few weeks there have been several threats to student safety, the most recent being a brutal assault on a student early Sunday morning. The student, Aaron Peacock, was robbed and beaten by two men, who left him with multiple fractures in his orbitals, a lacerated spleen and a broken nose, and badly bruised eyes.

He also had to have bone fragments removed from his swollen cheeks.

Aside from this most recent cast, OSU has issued three other crime alerts since an incident that took place on Oct, 30. The first incident in the recent string was an armed robbery that took place at W. 10th Avenue and Worthington Street, in which the attackers held a gun to the victim while taking his property.

A similar incident occurred on Nov. 3 in which four suspects robbed a student, one holding a gun to his head then telling him to run away after stealing his property.

The third incident happened two days later to a female student between Waldec and Tuller when two suspects demanded her to hand over her money. When she started screaming, they ran away.

A recent glance at CrimeReports.com shows that 71 violent crimes occurred on campus in the 30-day period ending Nov. 6. These crimes include robberies, assaults and homicides, all taking place within the area surrounding East Campus from High to 4th and 5th to East/West Oakland.

In response, the article says Newbern has founded a group called "Buckeyes for Conceal Carry." The group held their first meeting Monday, Nov. 7 in the Ohio Union to discuss their future plans.

According to the group's Facebook page, their primary goal is to dispel the common myths and misconceptions about concealed carry laws on college campuses through accessible education.

"The image most people have of firearms is that which Hollywood presents; that is not a healthy image. Gun control does nothing but make it harder for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves," said Newbern.

The group's second goal, as per their website, is to push state legislators and school administrators to grant concealed handgun license holders the same rights on college campuses that those licensees have in most other unsecured locations.

OSU Chief of Police Paul Denton is quoted as saying he doesn't think allowing students to have concealed weapons will necessarily make campus safer, since "the majority of these crimes occur in areas where it is perfectly legal to carry a concealed weapon." Denton doesn't explain, however, how a student who walking to or from campus is going to be able to carry concealed on the walk, since their eventual destination is a place where their Second Amendment rights are prohibited.

Many students, though, attended the first meeting, eager to contribute to the cause of loosening up the strict OSU policies for firearms on campus.

"Philosophically, I agree with being able to carry on campus if you have a concealed handgun license; I agreed with it even before I owned my own gun," said OSU senior Christian Malone, a student majoring in political science. "This is an issue I've advocated for many years now."

Other students disagree that this freedom would be an appropriate way to handle the crime situation many are faced with.

"I think allowing guns on campus would go against the core ideology behind getting a higher education," said fourth year business finance major Emily Lanzillotta. "Academics are supposed to be a safe haven for those who want to solve problems with their minds. Inviting weapons into this area would only create tension and unrest, going against the purpose of being here at Ohio State."

...For students interested in learning more, the group is considering hosting range trips, concealed carry classes and general safety classes in the future. It's easy to learn more by simply visiting their group page on Facebook. For the time being, the group's primary focus is education of students, staff and faculty.

The article concludes with a quote from second year OSU actuarial science major Amy Wiley, who said "I think it's better to educate and enable than to inhibit. After all, what's scarier than the unknown?"

While more and more college students seem to be able to understand the simple concept that "no-guns" zones do nothing to deter criminals, professors like Kent State University's Mark K. Cassell still can't seem to get it. From a guest op-ed recently published in The Akron Beacon Journal:

Now it seems to me that during one of the worst economic recessions in 70 years, worrying about whether students and faculty can pack heat during midterms or Greek parties seems a bit misplaced. In fact, I'll go out on a limb to say that as a faculty member, father of two children and member of the Kent State community, I cannot think of many policies more insane than allowing students, faculty and staff to walk around campus 24/7 with loaded guns — concealed or otherwise. And the reasons are obvious.

...In truth, once everyone is allowed to carry a favorite handgun or assault rifle at Kent State, we all lose.

Professor Cassell, it seems, believes it would be more sane to continue to ensure that the only people who have "a favorite handgun or assault rifle" on campus are homicidal maniacs.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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