Virginia Commonwealth University

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Bill Would Let Professors Carry Guns

January 28, 2012

By Brian Hill
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Delegate Bob Marshall of Manassas has proposed a bill that would allow full-time faculty members to carry guns on college campuses.

House Bill 91 would ban policies by public institutions of higher education that prohibit full-time faculty members with Virginia concealed handgun permits from packing heat.

The Republican lawmaker’s rationale is that faculty members with guns could deter violence on campus. However, others believe the measure could backfire.

“I do not think the bill should be passed, but not because I am anti-gun,” said John Aughenbaugh, a political science professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. “My concern is how would the policy be implemented and specifically how would we ensure that all faculty members carrying concealed weapons have the necessary training to use firearms properly.”

Most college campuses have policies restricting firearms.

Aughenbaugh said proponents of firearms on campus believe such a policy would reduce tragic events, such as the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting. However, Aughenbaugh said he’s not convinced.

“We do not know if having more firearms, especially without the requisite training and limitations, would increase the number of shootings on college campuses,” he said.

Some students are concerned about HB 91 and the effect it could have on campus life.

“Initially, it would make me feel a little nervous knowing that there is possibly a loaded gun in the classroom,” said Zachary LaRoche, an international studies major at VCU.

“Rationally, I would not feel that my life is in danger. I think I would actually feel safer knowing that a certified concealed weapons user was in the room.”

Marshall’s bill is awaiting action by the House of Delegates Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee.

On the Web

To track or comment on House Bill 91, visit the Richmond Sunlight website:
http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2012/hb91/.

This CNS article was published by the Commonwealth Times and the Henrico Citizen.