Guns

35 Colleges Join Campaign to Keep Guns Out of Schools

| by Gun Free Kids

Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus asks college and university presidents to band together to fight gun lobby's agenda to push guns into college campuses

CROTON, N.Y. -- The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus announced Thursday that 35 colleges and universities in 16 states have signed onto a resolution opposing legislation that would allow students to possess and carry firearms on campus. The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus is a project of GunFreeKids.org, a New York based nonprofit issue advocacy organization.

In response to school shootings at Virginia Tech (2007) and Northern Illinois University (2008), the gun lobby is promoting state legislation that would preempt a public college or university's current policies restricting firearms on campus and allow students to keep firearms in their dormitory rooms and carry concealed handguns on campus - in classrooms and at sporting events and other school activities.

One state - Utah - has already enacted such legislation.

The Utah law was the model for similar bills introduced in 17 states in 2008 - Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington. These and other states could be on the gun lobby's agenda in 2009. Legislation has already been introduced in at least three states - Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

"While school shootings such as those that occurred at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University are horrific events that attract national attention, the fact is that in the universe of gun violence America's college campuses are among the safest environments for students," said Andy Pelosi, president of GunFreeKids.org. "This is due, in no small part, to the fact that nearly all colleges and universities have adopted policies that prohibit or severely restrict firearms. We want to keep it that way."

The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus is writing letters to the presidents of all state-supported colleges and universities across the country (approximately 500) urging them to band together to oppose the gun lobby's agenda. The letter asks the college or university to sign onto a resolution opposing "legislation that would preempt a college or university's right to prohibit or adopt policies to regulate possession of firearms on campus."

The list of colleges and universities that have signed the resolution will be provided to lawmakers in states that are considering legislation to allow guns on campus. The list of colleges and universities and other information on the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus is available at www.gunfreekids.org.

Added John Johnson, director of Iowans for the Prevention of Gun Violence, "I am proud that Iowa law currently prohibits possession of firearms on any school property. As a parent, I would not send my children to any college or university that allows students to possess firearms on campus.

Read the Opposing Views debate "Do Guns Make College Campuses Safer?"

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