FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2014
(Croton Falls, NY) Early this morning, three students were injured during a shooting in the Strozier Library on the campus Florida State University in Tallahassee.
The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus issued the following statement in connection with this morning’s shooting.
“We first offer our thoughts to the families of the victims and to the entire Florida State University (FSU) community during this most difficult time. Various news accounts report that law enforcement personnel should be commended for their swift and professional actions in responding to the active shooter situation which helped to secure the campus and prevent further tragedy. In addition, it appears that FSU’s emergency notification system operated in a manner to quickly notify students. Our colleges and universities should be havens for learning, where students, faculty, staff and visitors should not need to worry about the threat of gun violence on their campuses.
Unfortunately, in the last few years, we are seeing an uptick in the number of on campus shootings. Rather than asking what we need to do in an unfortunate active shooting situation, we need to preemptively ask how these individuals are accessing guns. Were they stolen? Bought illegally? Bought in a state that does not require background checks? The gun lobby immediately focuses on how to react to a school shooting after it has already occurred, but as evidenced early this morning at FSU, the active shooter training of the Florida State University Police Department and Tallahassee Police Department proved invaluable at saving lives. Rather than arming students, faculty, and staff with guns, we need to focus our energy on preventing these situations from happening. With better access to mental health care, less access to guns, and greater communication, our campuses can continue to be the safe learning spaces they are intended to be.Read More»
For Immediate Release:
Arkansas’ Colleges Reject Law Permitting Armed Faculty on Campus
Groups Applaud Decision by Governing Boards to Opt out of Law for Second Consecutive Year
October 1, 2014 (Fayetteville, AR). For the second consecutive year, governing boards of Arkansas’ universities, colleges, and technical institutes voted unanimously to prohibit carrying of guns on their campuses statewide. Act 226 was authorized in March 2013 to permit faculty and staff with valid Arkansas Concealed Handgun Licenses to carry their loaded, concealed weapons on campus. However, the law permits institutional governing boards to vote annually to opt out of the law and continue prohibiting guns on campus. To date, no institutions in Arkansas have chosen to implement Act 226.
This decision represents a major victory, once again, for common sense regarding the bearing of arms on our school campuses in the state of Arkansas. Excluding Arkansas, seven other states have been forced to permit the carrying of firearms on their premises in some form, including Utah and Idaho, where two recent incidents of negligent shootings have occurred on campus in the past month. First, by a teacher in an elementary school restroom in Utah, and second, by a professor in an occupied classroom at Idaho State University. In each instance, rather than protecting life and property, these teachers wounded themselves.
One of the faculty leaders opposing guns on campus at the University of Arkansas stated, “I am very pleased to learn that, for the 2nd consecutive year, the governing boards of every college statewide chose to continue the long-standing prohibition of lethal weapons on campus. It shows our governing boards understand that our colleges are not magnets for murderers, but sanctuaries from them.” Dr. Stephen K. Boss, Professor of Environmental Dynamics and Sustainability, University of Arkansas.
Sidney Burris, Professor, Department of English, University of Arkansas, also said, “Our Board of Trustees is convinced that guns on our college campuses is an unwise policy because once again, they have unanimously voted against it. Our faculty, staff, and students can claim a substantial victory here, but so too can our parents, whose first concern is for the safety of their children.”
Andy Pelosi, director of The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus added, “Today, we applaud the wise decisions of all the Arkansas’ governing boards for their conviction and dedication to providing safe campus environments for students, faculty and staff. We call on state legislatures around the country to identify ways to reduce risk to people on campus – not increase it by allowing the presence of loaded, concealed weapons.”Read More»
On 7th Anniversary of the Virginia Tech Tragedy, Campus Campaign Continues Fight to Keep Guns Off College Campuses
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Croton Falls, NY) Today, we acknowledge the victims and survivors of the Virginia Tech tragedy, the deadliest college shooting in American history, killing 32 people and injuring 17 individuals and renew the call to keep loaded, concealed weapons off Americas’ college and university campuses.
The overwhelming majority of the 4,400 colleges and universities in the United States prohibit the carrying of firearms on their campuses. These gun-free policies have helped to make our post-secondary education institutions some of the safest places in the country.
Despite the success of these gun-free policies, an increasingly extreme pro-gun movement in the United States continues to promote legislation and litigation to force colleges and universities to allow concealed guns on campus. As a result, schools in Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin have now been forced in different ways to allow the carrying of firearms on their premises (i.e. campus grounds, classrooms, dormitories, or parking lots).
Said Andy Pelosi, director of The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus, “On this solemn day, we pay our respects to the families of the victims and survivors of the Virginia Tech massacre. We also renew the call for our society to push back against the gun lobby’s agenda of forcing colleges and universities to accept loaded, concealed handguns on campus. In 2014, at least eight states have introduced legislation that would force guns on college campuses. As of today, bills have been defeated in most of these states, mostly notably in Georgia for the third year in a row. In addition, schools in Arkansas are again voting to opt out of the law that would permit faculty to carry on campus. The one major setback occurred in Idaho, where despite major opposition from higher education leaders, students, faculty and law enforcement, the gun lobby’s effort to force loaded, concealed handguns won. If we are serious about providing safe campus environments for students, faculty and staff, we should identify ways to reduce risk – not increase it by allowing the presence of loaded, concealed weapons.Read More»
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BOISE, ID – Earlier today, Idaho Governor, C.L. “Butch” Otter, signed S. 1254, legislation that will force colleges and universities to allow the carrying of guns on campus (openly and concealed).
Senate Bill 1254 will allow certain individuals to carry loaded guns in places that include: campus grounds, academic buildings, libraries, and student recreation centers if they hold less than 1,000 people.
Said Andy Pelosi, director of the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, “Today, Governor Otter turned a deaf ear to the voices of the multitude of students and faculty, the unified voice of Idaho’s higher education community, and the Idaho’s Chiefs of Police Association, who together, strongly opposed allowing guns on campus. In his message to the Senate President, Governor Otter suggests that the 2nd Amendment extends outside of the home and allows people to carry weapons on public campuses. Specifically, he stated, “The Constitution limits neither the reach nor the protection afforded to lawful carriers of firearms by the Second Amendment. Court precedent has empowered and circumstances have compelled government entities to carve out specific exceptions. This is not the circumstance to carve out another”. Governor Otter’s rationale for forbidding colleges to take the necessary steps to protect public safety flies in the face of what Justice Scalia said, in part, in the Heller case: “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose… The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings…” We believe that prohibiting the carrying of weapons (concealed or openly) on campus is just the type of circumstance that the Court would uphold based on the Heller and McDonald decisions.”
Julie Gavran, The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus’ Western Director noted, “It is disheartening to see the lack of common sense Governor Otter showed today by signing Senate Bill 1254. In his closing remarks to the Senate President, Gov. Otter stated “We all will be watching closely to ensure the interests of Idaho citizens are served while their constitutional freedoms are protected” is a contradiction at best. Additionally, Gov. Otter claims that the “difficulties and costs” will be monitored but since suicides, threats, intimidation, and accidental discharges, by law, do not have to be reported, we will never know the true costs and difficulties Idaho colleges and universities will face. Today, Gov. Otter blatantly disregarded experts in campus safety, law enforcement, university presidents, faculty, students, and more importantly, the families of those lost to gun violence and is an insult to the education community and environment.”Read More»
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2014
BOISE, ID – Earlier today, the Idaho House passed legislation 50-19 that would force colleges and universities to allow the carrying of guns on campus (openly and concealed). The bill now heads to Governor Otter’s desk.
Senate Bill 1254 would strip the authority of state-supported colleges and universities in Idaho to regulate in matters relating to firearms. Currently, all state-supported colleges and universities in Idaho prohibit the possession of firearms on their campuses.
Specifically, this legislation paves the way for retired law enforcement and individuals – students, faculty, staff, and visitors – who possess an enhanced permit to carry concealed weapons to bring loaded handguns onto campus grounds and buildings, including classrooms, libraries, and student recreation centers. Firearms would be prohibited in (1) student dormitories and (2) “public entertainment facilities” with a seating capacity of at least 1,000 provided signage is posted at each point of entry. In addition, the legislation does not restrict the open carrying of a firearm in the above mentioned places.
Said Andy Pelosi, director of the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, “We continue to applaud Idaho’s colleges and universities for the steps they have taken to make their campuses safe environments for faculty, students, staff and visitors. The fact is that on-campus crime in Idaho is extremely rare (2012 data revealed that the crime rate is 1 crime per 6,000 students). Perhaps the most chilling aspect of SB.1254 is that it will also allow certain permit holders to openly carry guns. Allowing guns on Idaho’s college campuses will not make those campuses safer. We call on Governor Otter to listen to the voices of the multitude of students and faculty, the unified voice of Idaho’s higher education community, as well as Idaho’s Chiefs of Police Association, who together, strongly oppose allowing guns on campus.
Julie Gavran, The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus’ Western Director noted, “Today’s vote illustrates the legislature’s total disregard for their constituents. The education community, as well as the safety of Idaho’s university campuses was ignored.”
# # #
The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus was founded in 2008 to urge colleges and universities to band together to oppose the gun lobby’s agenda to push guns onto college campuses. To date, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and more than 365 colleges and universities in 41 states have joined the Campaign. Click to view list.