It’s 2021, and as new legislative sessions adopt to the COVID-19 restrictions and reconvene, several states are re-filing legislation to roll back discriminatory and illogical bans on campus carry.
So far this year, Montana, Kentucky, Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida, South Carolina, New York, West Virginia have filed bills to decriminalize campus carry.
HB 102 legalizes campus carry for those of legal age and have permits. The bill saw broad support from a majority-Republican legislature, cruising quickly through House and Senate votes, and was signed by Governor Greg Gianforte. This makes Montana the twelfth state overtly legalizing campus carry.
The law was quickly blocked from taking effect by a state judge, in response to the Board of Regents asking for time to file legal challenges.
This was predicted by Rep. Seth Bergelee, the bill’s author, who told reporters he felt pretty strongly that they had a good case against a challenge. Bergelee pointed to the landmark pro-gun case DC v. Heller which protects the right of firearms in the home, noting “[I]f you’re a student living in a dorm; that might be the only home you have.” In 2013, a similar bill was passed by both houses, but vetoed by then-governor Bullock.
SB 6001 has been reintroduced by Anthony Sabatini to overturn the state’s prohibition on campus carry. The bill, which failed in 2020, has been referred to several subcommittees.
HF 343 is a bill to limit the authority of college administrators to ban firearms on campus, and even issue civil fines for noncompliance.
House Bill 337 introduced by Rep. Savannah Maddox would remove current college gun bans which Kentucky law presently allows.
S 3651 decriminalizes firearms on college campuses. “[The gun restriction] does nothing to actually protect students with the ongoing spate of shootings at colleges and universities,” the bill’s justification text states. “Rather it attempts to use this issue as another way to infringe upon and limit and individuals second amendment right.”
HB 307 is an omnibus revision to the state’s concealed carry law, vesting regulation of firearms and concealed carry exclusively in the legislature and precluding all other local ordinances and rules. This would include legalizing campus carry by removing college authority to ban it.
HB 3503 in South Carolina would remove colleges from illegal carry zones. A separate bill, SB 23 would expand to 1,000 feet the zone criminalizing possession of a firearm on a college campus.
SB 246 would allow licensed employees, staff, and students of public universities to carry concealed weapons on college campuses.
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In 2020, ten states introduced campus carry bills, although many legislators adjourned prematurely due to the pandemic’s onset.
“It’s been a while since we’ve had a high-profile college shooting,” said David Burnett, spokesman for Students for Concealed Carry. “But if history is anything to go by, that won’t last. We can’t keep relying on luck. We’re grateful that legislators are recognizing the urgent need to overturn these ineffective and impotent restrictions on campus carry.”
Readers are urged to contact their state representatives in support of these bills.
For media inquiries related to pending litigation, contact PR Director David Burnett, David.Burnett@concealedcampus.org.