Bill aims to lift campus gun ban


CARSON CITY -- People with concealed weapon permits would be allowed to carry their guns on Nevada's college and university campuses under a bill coming to the Legislature.

The bill draft by Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, would lift a provision in state law that prohibits guns on state college and university property for people who have permits to carry weapons elsewhere.

Lee and other proponents say it would increase safety by ensuring that people who completed training necessary to get a concealed weapon permit have access to their gun during emergencies.

"If you can trust people to carry a concealed weapon off campus, what is it about a college campus that makes them all of a sudden untrustworthy?" asked Christopher Lively, 32, a student at the College of Southern Nevada.

Lively, who said he has a concealed carry permit, said he can't even drive to campus with his gun because state law prohibits him from leaving it locked in his car in a parking lot.

That means Lively essentially forfeits his weapon on days he has class, even if his schedule includes off-campus errands.

"The problem is I still have to get to and from school, and that places me in a vulnerable position," he said.

The law requires people with concealed carry permits to have written permission from a college or university president to take a gun onto property within the Nevada System of Higher Education. Lee's bill would remove that requirement.

The bill could be introduced as early as today . Lee was seeking co-sponsors Tuesday.

The proposal has support from the National Rifle Association, which backs similar campus-carry proposals in other states.

Although some students in Nevada and elsewhere support such measures, opposition is expected.

College of Southern Nevada student body President J.T. Creedon said students are buzzing about it on Facebook and other online social networking sites.

"The reaction from many of the students with me was they thought that was a pretty crazy idea," Creedon said.

Opponents of such legislation have cited security concerns, such as the possibility that if a campus shooting were to occur, the presence of more people with guns would only add to the chaos.

Creedon said that security on CSN campuses is sufficient and that adding more people with weapons would do more harm than good.

"It is probably more dangerous allowing people to bring a concealed weapon to campus than it is keeping them off campus," he said.

Lee said he intends to stand behind the proposal despite expected opposition.

The existing restrictions make people on campuses easier targets for criminals, he said.

He said the proposal is important to women, especially those taking classes at night.

"Self-defense is a fundamental right," Lee said. "I think if you feel the desire, it is late at night, it is dark, it is in the winter, you want to carry your protection, you should have that right."

Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at bspillman@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861.

 

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