Colorado carry laws reignite debate

Concealed weapons will now be allowed on the University of Colorado Boulder’s campus because of a recent Colorado state Supreme Court ruling, which has sparked debate on the matter.

SIUC does not allow weapons on campus in alignment with Illinois policy, said Todd Sigler, director of the SIU Department of Public Safety.

Illinois is the last state in the union without a law that allows concealed carry, according to an August article in the Huffington Post.

The last two Illinois Congress sessions have introduced a bill that allows concealed carry, but both have been defeated, Sigler said.

“They’ve been defeated for a number of reasons,” Sigler said. “The primary reason given is that the Democratic powerbase in Chicago has been able to defeat any proposed concealed carry in Illinois.”

He said students who want to have a weapon on campus can store it with the Department of Public Safety.

“That’s our policy for handling folks that want to have a firearm,” he said. “We have a number of students who like to hunt and have farms in the area, and to be able to take advantage of that right, we afford them the opportunity to keep their weapons stored here.”

William Freivogel, director of the School of Journalism, said students and professors could create uproar if Illinois were to allow universities to carry concealed weapons on campus.

“I know I wouldn’t want any students in my classes with guns,” Freivogel said. “If presented with the situation, I would insist that they not bring guns into the classroom. It’s just ridiculous.”

Freivogel said armed citizens might not be effective in a situation such as a gunman in a classroom.

“If you have multiple guns in classrooms, the chance of people being shot accidently would increase greatly,” he said. “Plus, the police arriving at the scene of a classroom shooting wouldn’t know who was the shooter and who was the person trying to get the shooter.”

Freivogel said he did not believe there was any evidence to support the claim that crime has decreased in areas where concealed carry is permitted.

Philip Habel, associate professor of political science, said he has not considered concealed carry because of Illinois law.

“It’s not feasible unless we have some change in state law anyway,” he said.

Peter Lucas, a graduate assistant in English, said he has not seen any evidence to support concealed carry.

“I fail to see how having more guns on campus is a good idea,” he said.

Gregory Maddox, a lecturer of sociology, said he held a discussion about concealed carry with colleagues following the Virginia Tech shooting of 2007. The idea that students could have guns in their backpacks concerned him.

“It scares me because what appears to be a threat varies from one’s perspective,” he said. “I’m not a sportsman. I’m not a hunter. I’m not all that comfortable around weapons.”

Kyle Ludwig, a freshman from Sigel studying theater, said Illinois should to have some sort of law to permit concealed carry.

“If we’re not going to have concealed carry (as a state), we need to have a law saying specific people can have concealed carry,” Ludwig said.

Ludwig said he’d like to see a much more open policy. His grandfather was a gun salesman, he said, and sales at Illinois gun shows have plummeted because of the law.

“If the right people are carrying, it makes a safer community,” he said. “But obviously there are going to be people who aren’t the right people carrying.”

Heather Nelson, a freshman from Sikeston, Mo., studying English, said concealed carry is a good idea. She mentioned the incident in Aurora, Colo., in which alleged shooter James Holmes killed 12 people July 20 during a midnight show at a movie theater, as a reason for concealed carry.

Nelson also mentioned the July shooting in Florida, where a man shot two robbers at an Internet café with his concealed weapon.

Freivogel said the classroom is no environment for guns.

“There are all sorts of arguments for why students should be able to arm themselves,” he said. “I think in the end, having armed students is more dangerous than having unarmed students.”

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About Karsten Burgstahler

Karsten Burgstahler can be reached at kburgstahler@dailyegyptian.com or 536-3311 ext.255.

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