Jun 112013
 

reflector

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

 

Police chiefs at ECU and 16 other universities on Monday released a statement opposing a bill that would allow guns on campus.

House Bill 937, co-sponsored by Reps. Brian Brown, R­-Pitt, and Susan Martin, R-Wilson, would allow people with a valid concealed handgun permit to keep them “in a locked compartment in a vehicle on the premises of a community college or public or private university.”

The bill passed its third reading last month in the state House and its first reading in the Senate. It has been in the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate since May 8.

If passed, the bill would become effective on Oct. 1.

UNC campus police chiefs are the latest officials to denounce the legislation. UNC system President Tom Ross, East Carolina University Chancellor Steve Ballard, N.C. Community College System President Scott Ralls and Pitt Community College President Dennis Massey all have opposed the bill.

ECU Acting Police Chief Jason Sugg and other university chiefs indicated in the Monday statement that the bill’s passage would increase the risk to the safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors.

“In the event of a campus emergency, it is possible that concealed-carry permit holders may feel empowered to retrieve their handguns, thereby complicating and potentially hindering law enforcement response on a crowded campus,” the statement said. “The potential risk to those on campus far outweighs the convenience to concealed-carry permit holders.”

Middle and high schools are located on some of the 17 UNC campuses, and many of the universities host summer youth camps, according to the statement. The bill would allow concealed-weapon permit holders to bring handguns to those venues.

The bill indicates private colleges and universities would have the authority to decide whether to allow handguns on campus, according to the police chiefs, and it “would have a disparate impact” on public colleges and universities.

The chiefs encouraged the General Assembly to remove the provision from H.B. 937 that would allow guns on campuses.

The legislation also would let permit-holders arm themselves in a restaurant where alcohol is served unless the establishment expressly forbids it. It also makes clear that local bans of concealed weapons do not apply to greenways and walking paths.

Other provisions of the bill:

Allow motorists with concealed weapons permits to store guns in their cars in state government parking lots.

Allow authorities to charge any adult who permits a child younger than 12 to use a gun without supervision.

Require court clerks to enter quickly into a national criminal background databases whether a criminal suspect or someone else has been adjudicated related to a mental health issue.

If passed, the bill would become effective on Oct. 1.

via The Daily Reflector.

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