As college students across the country prepare to convene in the nation’s capitol to discuss college gun bans on August 8th, two more states have expanded the right to carry concealed weapons on campus.
Wisconsin became the 49th state to decriminalize bearing arms for defense when Governor Scott Walker signed SB 93 into law on July 8.
The law, which goes into effect in November, removes the state prohibition on concealed carry, limiting possession of firearms on K-12 institutions but excluding college campuses.
“Carrying a concealed weapon for protection is no longer a criminal offense in Wisconsin,” said David Burnett, a spokesman with Students for Concealed Carry. “It remains to be seen how much power the colleges will have to regulate self-defense on campus, but this is clearly a step in the right direction.”
The bill passed despite efforts of gun control advocates to maintain the ban on self-defense. “[G]un violence cannot be stopped with more guns,” argued Virginia Tech victim and gun control advocate Colin Goddard in a June 24th editorial. Ironically, the perpetrator of the Virginia Tech massacre had more than 200 rounds of ammunition left when he took his own life in response to the approach of officers, who were presumably carrying guns.
Meanwhile, Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued an opinion on July 1 stating that policies set in place by the University of Virginia “may not be used to
prohibit persons with such a permit from carrying a concealed firearm into the buildings covered by the policy.” The ruling invalidates the University of Virginia’s previous ban on lawfully-armed visitors to the campus, though the college can still penalize residents, students and faculty of the campus for protecting themselves with firearms.
“It certainly can be argued that [gun ban] policies are ineffectual because persons who wish to perpetrate violence will ignore them, and that the net effect of such policies is to leave defenseless the law-abiding citizens who follow these policies,” wrote Cuccinelli.
The opinion is forcing other colleges, including Virginia Tech, to revisit their rules.
“This is a tremendous step forward for college students and teachers in both Wisconsin and Virginia,” said Burnett. “Almost half the states in the union took up the issue this year, and our group won’t stop until we vote down every law that forbids us from fighting back.”
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Director of Public Relations, Students for Concealed Carry