Concealed carry on campus ‘worth examining’

Students for Concealed Carry, a national organization established in response to the shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007, hopes to put Ohio on the list of states that allow licensed individuals to carry concealed weapons on college and university campuses.

Kurt Mueller, acting director of public relations, said the group is about to file a lawsuit against Ohio State University.

“We’ve successfully sued the University of Colorado, and now concealed carry is legal on campuses in Colorado,” he said.

Mueller said campuses aren’t always safe. He added that the only way to protect campuses would be to undertake a process of “screening every car and student … [unless] … students and faculty were allowed to have concealed carry.”

Gordon Frissora, an associate professor of criminal justice at Youngstown State University and a concealed carry permit holder, said state and federal laws allow citizens to protect themselves, but that the Second Amendment isn’t absolute.

“It says ‘a well regulated militia,’ and well regulated means we can put regulations on it,” he said.

Cory Okular, president of the YSU Student Government Association, said the issue is worth examining, adding that responsible gun owners give “bad guys with guns” a reason to act more cautiously. But the university could explore other options.

“Rather than allow concealed carry, they might have more officers on campus,” Okular said. “Instead of having them drive around, we could have them inside the campus.”

Lt. Shawn Varso of the YSU Police Department said university police officers are well prepared in case of emergencies.

“With the officers we do have, the campus is never uncovered, but it’s definitely nice to have extra officers,” he said.

Varso said he could not reveal the police department’s response strategies, but said the officers keep up to date with security protocols.

“When Virginia Tech happened, we started equipping our officers to prevent it here,” he said. “In the training, our officers are being placed in different scenarios to learn how to engage the threat.”

The university also implemented the YSU Alert Notification System following the shooting at Virginia Tech.

“The idea was you could alert everyone on campus,” Okular said.