By Lori Higgins – Free Press Education Writer
Issues surrounding carrying concealed guns on college campuses in Michigan are coming to a head at Oakland University this week.
Students who are part of a new student group, called OU Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, are walking around with empty holsters to raise awareness of their views. And the university is anticipating some armed advocates for carrying weapons on campus will attend a Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday.
Michigan laws allow those with a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Even so, the university bars weapons on campus.
But there currently is legislation in Lansing that would prohibit universities from regulating the carrying of guns on college campuses, Chief Sam Lucido of the Oakland University Police Department said. OU officials are opposed to any such prohibition.
Lucido said he met with the student group last week and the leaders agreed to call off their demonstration. But they changed their minds over the weekend, he said. Despite that, he said, few students have been seen walking around campus with empty holsters.
By Carol Hopkins – The Daily Tribune
In the Oakland University Oakland Center, students Andrew Canyock of Harrison Township and Alayna Thison of Clinton Township talk about gun rights group members walking around campus this week wearing their empty gun holsters. The Daily Tribune/TIM THOMPSON
Oakland University student Randy Fullmer is wearing an empty gun holster strapped to his leg around campus most of this week.
Fullmer of Oakland Township, a member of the Students for Carrying Concealed Weapons, explained the move: “We’re doing this to promote awareness regarding concealed-carry on university campuses.
“I do not feel obliged to believe that upon crossing an invisible line around the border on university campus one loses the right to defend themselves in frightening situations.”
Another member of the group, Brett McIsaac of Rochester, is also participating in the “protest.”
“If you have gone through all the classes and have met all the requirements, then you should be able to legally carry on campus,” he said. “You should be able to defend yourself if you legally have the means to.”
Oakland University Police Chief Sam Lucido said “possibly 20-30 students are in the group and only four or five are participating.
“Students are prohibited from carrying weapons on campus as part of student conduct. As far as I know, most campuses have that rule.”
Lucido also said the two bills about guns on campus are currently before the state Legislature.
The bills would prohibit universities from enacting policies regulating firearms on campus.
“Oakland University has taken a stance against this legislation,” Lucido said.
According to Oakland University President Gary Russi, state laws currently allow gun owners to carry legally registered firearms in public so long as the weapons are on their person and in open view.
State law governing where people can carry concealed weapons is slightly different, in that permit holders are prohibited from carrying concealed weapons in certain places, including classrooms and residence halls.
Russi said although Oakland University maintains an ordinance that prohibits any person except law enforcement officers from carrying weapons on campus, “regrettably the university cannot interfere with an individual carrying a weapon on campus in accordance with state law.
“This being said, we stand by our university ordinance. We enforce a student code of conduct provision that bans carrying weapons on campus, and our faculty and staff recognize that for them to carry a weapon on campus would be inappropriate,” Russi said. “We vigorously support a recent University Senate resolution that opposes both current and pending state law allowing anyone with a permit to carry firearms on campus. We also strongly support Oakland University Police Chief Sam Lucido’s ongoing lobbying efforts against passage of any laws that prevent universities from restricting weapons.”
What Do You Think Detroit?
After hearing the arguments, do you think that guns should be allowed on college campuses? Leave me your comments below