DE poll: Students not on target with idea of concealed carry on campus


By Anna Spoerre, @annaspoerre

SIU students are split on if concealed carry of a firearm should be allowed on campus, according to the results of a poll conducted this month by the Daily Egyptian.

The straw poll, conducted April 1 through April 4, thanks to funding from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, was posted on SIU online after three shootings — one fatal — in Carbondale last week.

MORE: 3 days, 3 people shot in Carbondale


Of the 1,240 students who responded, 37.58 percent said they own a gun. Of those 466 gun owners, 387 said they keep it in their place of residence. Twenty of those students said they live on campus.

According to the university’s firearm policies, possession, storage and carrying of firearms in or on university property is prohibited. Exceptions include on-duty police officers. One-hundred fifteen students said they store their weapons in their cars, which is not against university policy if the weapon is concealed and the vehicle is locked.

“Carbondale’s gun policy is too strict,” one polled student wrote. “Safety should be the main priority, but owning a gun as a SIUC student is almost impossible. I am an avid hunter and I am constantly jumping through hoops in order to comply with SIUC policy.”

This isn’t the case at every school. Beginning in August, public universities in Texas must allow concealed carry on their campuses, according to the Huffington Post.

More than 35 percent of students surveyed said students should be allowed to carry firearms on campus compared to about 64 percent who opposed.

Doug Meadows, range safety officer for SIU’s shooting team, said because he advocates safety as a top priority, he thinks the university should allow concealed carry as well.

“Every person should have the right to defend themselves,” said Meadows, a junior from Anna studying criminology and criminal justice.


Meadows, a local police officer and Army veteran, said he understands why people would be wary of guns on campus. Accordingly, he said safety measures such as use and safety training, testing and in-depth background checks should be required to carry them.

He said the recent violence in Carbondale justifies his opinion, referencing nationwide mass shootings and assaults as other reasons why students should be able to defend themselves with more than just pepper spray.

“People will argue that having guns will ensure less violence because it will send a message to possible threats that a person is armed,” another student wrote. “However, violent people are violent and giving them legal access to guns will make it easier for them to do damage.”

Matt Barber, a senior from Pekin studying information systems technology, said although he owns a gun for recreational purposes and to defend himself in his own off-campus home, he thinks guns pose too great a safety risk on campus — even if the owner received extensive training.

“If it became necessary for us to have concealed carry on campus that means the police department is not doing their job or aren’t being provided the resources necessary to protect us on campus,” he said. 

Anna Spoerre can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3325.