Campus carry has passed in West Virginia, which would let people with concealed carry licenses carry a handgun on public college and university campuses. Senate Bill 10 (SB10) received its final vote on February 21 and will now go to Governor Jim Justice’s desk.
The opposition wants the Governor to reject the passage of the legislation saying it would cost too much money to monitor gun owners.
“It is the intent of the Legislature,” SB10 stated, “to establish, by this act, conditions under which persons with a current and valid license to carry a concealed deadly weapon may carry a concealed pistol or revolver at a state institution of higher education.”
The University released a statement about the passage of the bill, asking the Governor to reject the bill out of concern:
Jan. 23, 2023 Statement from Interim President Dr. Cathy Monteroso on Senate Bill 10:
“West Liberty University is following the discussion on Senate Bill 10, which would allow for the concealed carry of firearms on our college campuses. The issue is complex and while our administration respects the Second Amendment, we are concerned about the additional safety measures and expenses that would be required to enforce this bill while maintaining our current level of campus security.
“West Liberty University employs a professional Campus Police force that is trained and armed, and available 24-7. These professional officers work hard to ensure that each student, employee and visitor is safe and feels welcome. We want to remain a safe and welcoming campus to our students and employees. We ask the legislature to proceed cautiously on this important matter.”
Jan. 26, 2023 Statement from Student Government President Sydney Burkle regarding Senate Bill 10:
“The Student Government Association is in agreement with both President Dr. Cathy Monteroso and Police Chief Ron Fox. Key points were that with the addition of concealed weapons on campus, the concern is that there is a lack of a way to monitor and control the weapons and that would be an issue. Additionally, the well-documented mental health crisis in society, especially among college-aged students, poses a threat to the idea of allowing students to have weapons, even if concealed, on our campus. While the right to bear arms is important to our students, we feel that the West Virginia Legislature should reconsider this bill before moving forward.”
Feb. 21, 2023 Resolution Emanating from Faculty Senate Agenda Action Item:
Sent to Governor Jim Justice:
At its regular monthly meeting on February 21, 2023, the Faculty Senate of West Liberty University unanimously passed the following resolution:
Whereas, Senate Bill 10/House Bill 2519, the “Campus Self Defense Act,” contains provisions which would eliminate the authority of institutional boards of governors to restrict or regulate the carrying of concealed weapons in certain circumstances or areas of an institution of higher education; and
Whereas, in the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the majority opinion, “The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on … laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings… “
Whereas, Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson and James Madison supported a rule prohibiting firearms on the campus of the University of Virginia, providing valuable insight into the strong historical precedent of gun-free college campuses in the United States; and,
Whereas, nearly 30 American Scholarly Societies worry that campus carry laws “introduce serious safety threats on college campuses with a resulting harmful effect on students and professors”; and
Whereas, the American Federation of Teachers, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the American Association of University Professors, in a joint statement, have rejected the notion that “campus carry” laws make campuses safer and called for the repeal of these laws where they exist and oppose new legislation; and,
Whereas, at least 5 presidents of WV universities have voiced opposition to SB 10/HB 2519, noting, among other issues, that the possession of firearms on the grounds of a University by non-emergency personnel may adversely affect the University including, but not limited to, public health impacts, the recruitment and retention of students, faculty, and staff, as well as the cost of compliance,
The Faculty Senate of West Liberty University opposes Senate Bill 10/House Bill 2519 (the so-called “Campus Self Defense Act”) and calls upon the West Virginia Legislature and Governor Jim Justice to leave decisions about important rules relating to campus safety to institutional boards of governors.
Dept. of Humanities & Social Sciences
Faculty Senate Chair
Our friends at Big League Politics reported on more details of the passage of the bill:
According to the law, public institutions of higher learning must provide at minimum one “secure location for the storage of a pistol or revolver” in an on-campus residence hall and bans schools from restricting firearms in public spaces.
Gabrielle M. Etzel of Campus Reform noted that “Exceptions include school stadiums, daycare facilities, and student and faculty disciplinary hearings.”
Etzel pointed out that West Virginia is one of the states with the highest rate of gun ownership. It’s fifth in the US for gun ownership “with 58.5% of its population registered.”
On top of that, West Virginia is a solidly pro-gun state in terms of its gun laws and overall gun culture. According to Guns & Ammo best states for gun owners rankings, West Virginia is in 19th place. Passing Campus Carry will further improve the state’s pro-gun profile.
There isn’t much room for progress on gun rights at the federal level but at the state level opportunities abound. The Right should pick up on this and run with it