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January 26, 2014

Guns do not belong on campus

NORMAN — Oklahoma lawmakers will once again be confronted with legislation that seeks to allow the carrying of handguns on college campuses. It’s becoming an annual debate at the legislature following shootings at college campuses in other parts of the country in the past few years.

The timing is fortuitous as University of Oklahoma officials review the “shots fired” false alarm of the past week. Dozens of law enforcement authorities converged on the College of Architecture Wednesday morning after a faculty member reported hearing what she thought were gunshots.

House Bill 2887 by state Rep. John Enns, R-Enid, would limit the schools’ ability to ban handguns. It also would prohibit the suspension or forfeiture of licenses by gun owners who violate the ban.

Gun rights advocates believe that students and university employees would be safer if licensed gun owners could carry their weapons on campus. Both OU President David Boren and Higher Education Chancellor Glen Johnson have expressed concern that allowing guns on campus creates a dangerous situation.

“I think what happened today shows that the most unwise thing in the world we can do is put guns in the hands of all the people on campus,” Boren told an afternoon news conference following Wednesday’s incident. “First of all, when the SWAT team comes to a building, and they are trying to protect our students, how do they know whether it’s a good or a bad person? I think the most dangerous thing is that some of those people may be waving weapons and get shot.”

Law enforcement officers don’t want guns on campus either. It’s a matter of campus security and not Second Amendment rights. We hope state Regents stand their ground and resist any attempts to take away schools’ rights to regulate guns on campuses.

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