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Guest column sparks debate on guns on campuses

March 2, 2019

A recent guest column by John Garwood, a student at Concord University, supported a bill in the West Virginia Legislature that would allow people to carry concealed firearms on the campuses of state colleges and universities, with some exceptions. As could be expected, his column drew debate among online readers of The Herald-Dispatch. Following is a sample of comments made in that debate.

Kimberly Chalfant White: “So, students and faculty are supposed to give the benefit of the doubt to someone with a gun? You walk into my class with a gun, I’m going to assume you’re a threat. Why should I assume otherwise? Public institutions have a say in whether or not they raise tuition. The Legislature is forcing a tuition hike to pay for these ridiculous contingencies. Kids want to sleep with their guns on campus, so now we have to have an armory? Who will guard the armory? This gun nonsense is yet another attack on public education from the right wing who wishes to privatize education. This isn’t about safety or gun rights. This is about dismantling public education by rendering it unaffordable, over-regulated, and unsafe.”

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Amie Maynard: “I think the universities should be able to make their own policies. Forcing the will of special interest groups onto these institutions is undemocratic.”

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Jack Garwood: “What’s democratic is elected representatives introducing and passing a bill. And my opinions have nothing to do with the WVCDL; I am an individual student speaking out because the law as it stands places us at the mercy of a shooter.”

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Jarred Cannon: “They are free to make their own decisions when they are private institutions. This only affects those that WV hands hundreds of millions of dollars to every year.”

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Amie Maynard: “Again, we shouldn’t be subjected to the will of special interest groups; it’s undemocratic. Outside groups shouldn’t be putting my life at risk while I’m at work. I don’t want to be shot by a 19-year-old because they got a bad grade. People that do not work on campus have no business making our policies!”

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Andy Pelosi: “Take a look at some of the incidents that have occurred at schools in states with guns on campus laws.”

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Roy Heffner: “When you consider the number of students attending these universities, it’s a relative small amount of deaths and similar to numbers in the general population. The suicides could as easily been by slashing of wrists, jumping from a roof or any number of ways. No numbers were given for student deaths by other means such as hazing or deaths caused by drug or alcohol abuse. The incomplete and lack of information concerning these deaths is alarming and an indication of bias.”

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Kimberly Chalfant White: “The epitome of fear-mongering is assuming the solution to every problem in America is more guns when the research overwhelmingly proves more guns equals more death. Proposals like concealed carry on campus are extremist approaches to problems with common sense solutions. The gun rights movement is extremist and not at all interested in solutions, just advancing an agenda set by the NRA to sell more weapons. Shame.”