OU Student Senate opposes concealed guns

The (Ohio University) Post Online recently reported that the Student Senate passed a resolution opposing a portion of a bill introduced by Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-Cincinnati), who is currently recently running for an open seat in the U.S. Congress, that would allow persons qualified for concealed handgun licenses to protect themselves on college campuses.

From the story:

    Ohio University students might be forced to live with owners and carriers of concealed weapons -and even forced to sleep with guns in their own rooms -if a bill up in the Ohio Senate passes.

    Under the Ohio House of Representatives Bill 91, universities, churches, day-care centers and homes must allow people to bring concealed weapons on their premises, currently considered a criminal act.

    The bill also allows non-licensed citizens to carry handguns, provided they meet licensing qualifications. This means that even if a person is not licensed and is caught carrying a concealed weapon, it is still legal as long as they could potentially be licensed.

    Student Senate passed a resolution last night opposed to this portion of the bill. It asks the Ohio house to allow universities to decide individually if they will allow concealed weapons on their campuses.

    "Guns in public places, on college campuses such as academic buildings, libraries and dorms is a bad idea," said Linsey Pecikonis, senator for women's affairs.

The article reveals that many of the students are apparently unfamiliar with Ohio's concealed carry law or Federal laws regarding firearms in primary schools:

    Senate staff member Bryan O'Shea said the bill still exempts elementary, middle and high schools from conceal-and-carry regulations, and asked why preschoolers and college students do not need the same protection.

    He also noted the culture of drinking on college campuses and the increased danger that intoxication adds to carrying weapons.

Since he mentions it, one is led to wonder if O'Shea's Student Senate has resolved to oppose underage drinking on the Ohio University campus...

A few days after this article, an informative letter to the editor opposing the resolution appeared in the Post Online. To read the letter,click on the "Read More..." link below.

May 25, 2005
LTE: Firearm precautions could ease concerns

I am writing today about the Ohio House Bill 91, which the Ohio University Student Senate opposes as stated in the May 19th edition ("Senate opposes concealed guns"). Although I do not agree with the senate's position that allowing weapons on campus will make the school more dangerous, the body does bring up a few interesting points about students who are disliking of firearms having to live with people who have potential weapons.

If Bill 91 does go into law, I think the university should have at least one or two residence halls open to students who are over the legal age and are allowed to own a firearm, giving students the option to live or not to live with people who own firearms. I know in my case it was frustrating not being able to house my firearms in my residence hall, having to find a friend off campus willing to keep them for me. I trust my friends, but I feel much safer keeping the firearm with me.

For the problem of alcohol and guns, keep dorms that allow weapons substance free. Alert the Ohio University Police Department, RAs and RDs as to which room's firearms will be housed, have the students sign a contract that they will keep the firearms unloaded, trigger guards on, the action open, and that the ammo will be stored away from the firearm any time the firearm is in the halls and that any violation of university policy will result in a removal of firearm privileges, removal from OU and/or criminal prosecution.

Most people with firearms, and especially those who have concealed-carry permits, are some of the most law-abiding people in the state. There are training, background checks and numerous other steps one has to go through to obtain a permit, and with over 50,000 Ohioans obtaining a permit in the first year alone, it is not going away. So, a compromise should be reached that will make both sides of the bill happy.

Chip Markovich
Senior Geology Major

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