“If you see a few students walking around campus with empty gun holsters this week, don’t be surprised. They will be participating in the week-long Empty Holster protest organized by Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC). The national organization hopes to educate, as well as make a statement about what it considers unfair state laws and school policies.””
If you see a few students walking around campus with empty gun holsters this week, don’t be surprised.
They will be participating in the week-long Empty Holster protest organized by Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC). The national organization hopes to educate, as well as make a statement about what it considers unfair state laws and school policies.
The organization was formed last year, in the weeks following the Virginia Tech shooting. The group refers to itself as a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization that supports the rights of students to carry concealed weapons on college campuses.
In every state except Utah, individuals with concealed carry permits are prohibited from bringing firearms onto public college campuses.
Brint Hahn, the student leader for the University of Akron’s SCCC chapter since its creation last spring, said the group is not formally participating in this week’s protest. He is concerned it could have a negative effect on campus.
Hahn holds a concealed weapon permit and owns several weapons.
He believes that when responsible, certified gun owners are permitted to carry their weapons, it has a positive – and deterrent – effect.
It’s going to reduce the possibility of disasters happening on campus. Having students armed is the only way to stop something like Virginia Tech, Hahn said. It would also reduce the crime around campus.
Hahn said students need to defend themselves on campus, but also – and possibly more so – as they walk to and from campus.
If I lived near campus, I would want to be protected, he said.
Hahn ardently believes that he – and those who have been certified by the state – should be able to carry concealed weapons on campus.
Only 11 colleges in the country – including the nine public universities in Utah – allow concealed weapons on their campuses. Two other colleges – one in Colorado, and one in West Virginia – have chosen to allow weapons on campus.
However, SCCC media liaison David Burnett pointed out that public universities in Utah still oppose the legislation, in spite of the fact that, in the more than 60 semesters since students have been allowed to carry weapons on those campuses, there have been no mass shootings, or any accidental shootings.
Pending legislation in the Statehouse could change the concealed weapon policy for Ohio colleges. Ohio is one of nine states considering legislation that will allow those with concealed carry permits to bring their weapons on campus.
House Bill 225, sponsored by Rep. John Adams (R-Sidney), would allow concealed weapons at colleges, day care centers, places of worship and buildings owned and leased by state and local governments.
The bill is rumored to be stalled following a Criminal Justice Committee hearing. Adams might ask for another hearing or propose it as an amendment to another bill, the Dayton Daily News reported.
Senate Bill 318 proposes a twist on the House’s version. It would allow concealed weapons in the same types of facilities, but only if they are unloaded and in a closed container.
Student Mike Moorhead said such legislation is pointless. Moorhead, 23, is a business major who has long been interested in guns. He and his younger brother own five guns between them; two handguns, an AR-15 rifle, an AK-47 rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun.
While Moorhead is excited that the government is taking students’ interests into consideration, he said the Senate bill is simply garbage.
If someone is attempting to commit a crime, they definitely aren’t following the same laws you are, he said. Plain and simple, the good guys aren’t the only ones who know you can’t carry a loaded firearm on campus. Armed with this knowledge, criminals have begun targeting campuses with almost certain confidence that they will not be fended off with a gun while committing a crime.
University spokesperson Ken Torisky said, The university is taking a wait-and-see approach with S.B. 318. We understand the bill is in committee meetings now, and we will analyze the language and possible effects of the bill as it moves through the legislative process.
Similar legislation was recently rejected in six other states.
Burnett is the SCCC campus leader at his school, the University of Kentucky. He doesn’t get paid for either of the positions he holds, as SCCC is not funded by any organization. He said he is involved because he feels strongly about the issue.
He joined the group last October, around the time of the first Empty Holster Protest. Students on approximately 125 campuses participated in that protest.
According to Burnett, that figure will more than quadruple this week. Students on more than 500 campuses are slated to participate.
The group – and the Virginia Tech chapter, the strongest one in the country – see a good deal of opposition, Burnett said. Most critics of the group and its objectives, though, think with their hearts, not with their heads, he said.
Burnett believes that, if you look at the issue from an empirical standpoint, those who fall on the side of allowing concealed weapons on campus win.
He is familiar with the arguments against his position. A common criticism, that more guns won’t solve violence, doesn’t accurately reflect the problem, he said.
For instance, Burnett pointed out, policemen carry guns for a reason. He said that’s because police believe guns are helpful in violent situations, and asserting that the same attitude is held by those certified to carry concealed weapons.
There are windows of opportunity when a campus shooting occurs, Burnett said, when an armed student could respond quickly and diffuse the situation. However, when students are forced to leave their weapons at home, that’s an impossibility. From beginning to end, these situations are at the discretion of the deranged shooter instead, he asserted.
Burnett advocates self-defense and, when necessary, defense of others. And, once you’ve been certified to carry a concealed weapon, it’s because the state trusts you to do so, he said.
Burnett, Hahn and Moorhead insist that they – and the thousands of other students around the country who hold concealed carry permits – take the responsibility that comes with that trust very seriously.
“” #1.1361047:4163479181.jpg:20080422_Brint Hann_MD.jpg:UA student Brint Hahn practices using a weapon.:Melissa Dunfee”