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Ross to lawmakers: Keep guns off UNC campuses

Posted April 29, 2013
Updated April 30, 2013

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— University of North Carolina President Tom Ross said Monday that he's concerned about legislation moving through the state House that would allow people to have guns on university campuses.

House Bill 937 passed a House committee last week. It was scheduled to go before the full House Tuesday, but it was pulled off the calendar so legislative staff could determine whether the changes in the bill would create any additional cost to the state.

Under the proposal, concealed handgun permit holders would be able to lock their handguns in their cars when they park on college campuses, including all public community college and UNC campuses. Independent colleges and universities in North Carolina would have the choice of whether to allow firearms on campus but would have to post a prohibition.

Ross said allowing guns on campus "would increase the risk to public safety and hamper our ability to protect not only our students, staff and faculty, but also campus visitors." He noted that some UNC campuses have high school and middle school students taking classes there, and some host summer camps for younger children.

Vehicle break-ins rank among the top campus crimes, which could lead to guns winding up in the wrong hands, he said. Also, officers responding to a report of an armed robbery or an active shooter on campus might mistake a bystander with a weapon for a criminal suspect.

"The potential for tragedy far outweighs any potential benefit or convenience to concealed-carry permit holders," Ross said in a statement. "We encourage the General Assembly to remove the provision that would allow guns to be brought onto UNC and other college and university campuses."

Jack Moorman, chief of the North Carolina State University Police Department, spoke against the bill last week in committee, noting that some concealed weapon permit holders have made threats on campus before.

Students react to firearms on campus Students react to bill allowing firearms on college campuses

"Some of these individuals who have CCW permits are not people we feel comfortable about carrying a firearm on our campus," Moorman told lawmakers.

On Monday, Jeff McCracken, director of public safety at UNC-Chapel Hill, expressed his opposition as well.

"While intended to promote safety, this legislation allowing additional guns on public campuses actually would make colleges and universities less safe. Even allowing weapons to be kept only in locked vehicles is not secure," McCracken said in a statement.

Paul Valone, president of gun rights group Grass Roots North Carolina, said his organization wanted even fewer restrictions on guns on campuses than are allowed in the bill.

"The entire purpose of this is deterrence. We are looking at deterring violent sociopaths from crimes on campuses," Valone said.

Representatives of the National Rifle Association, Grass Roots North Carolina and other gun owner rights groups have endorsed the bill, saying it granted changes long sought by gun owners.

In addition to college campuses, the bill would allow concealed handgun permit holders to carry their firearms into bars, restaurants and other places where alcohol is served unless the owners posted a "no firearms" sign.

247 Comments

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  • rargos May 8, 9:39 a.m.

    Ironically, a UNC student is suing the NYPD when she was injured by an NYPD officer (along with 8 other innocent bystanders) near the Empire State Building last year.

    http://news.yahoo.com/nc-woman-sues-nypd-over-empire-state-shooting-164729290.html

    Seems that the NYPD is a bigger threat to UNC students than the 300,000 licensed CCW permit holders in NC.

  • caryzoo May 7, 9:55 p.m.

    My kids go out of state for college(no guns allowed). There is too much death due to guns..allowed or not. Many of NC colleges have good programs. Think about the fact that many of the teachers/professors will take their knowledge and experience elsewhere to be safe? I know, for a fact, that at least 15 people I know, personally, will not allow their children into this state's higher education system if law is put into place. I pray twice a day for this law to be struck down.

    I applaud Tom Ross for his stand, UNC Chapel Hill knows EXACTLY what they are talking about regarding gun violence.

    I am shocked and very disturbed that our elected officials are so busy making their donors happy they NEVER consulted the people who are responsible for saving gunshot victims lives. WHO WILL PAY? WE ALL WILL. Our insurance rates will rise with this free firearm state. Ahh..this is how our elected officials pay back those donors. More guns mean more money for insurance companies. SICK.

  • Lightfoot3 May 1, 9:37 a.m.

    "oh you poor baby......does baby need a big gun so he can feel many on building sites? -- Grand Union


    Typical of those that lack an argument. The site is isolated and has already had two cases of people removing items.

  • Lightfoot3 May 1, 9:36 a.m.

    "yeah and if god had struck Lanza with Lightning that would have stopped him too...." - Grand Union


    God's imaginary, but I've already given you case, after case, after case of armed citizens stopping criminals (some in the act of killing others).


    "Given that the crime rates in say the UK" - Grand Union


    Given guns never were part of the equation, so the UK is irrelevant.


    "how about salesman call cops and let the professionals do their job?" - Grand Union


    Like draw chalk outlines?


    "Its their opinion of what the 2nd means that counts, not yours" - Grand Union

    Yet you whine when they rule for gun owners.

    "I have kids in college" - Grand Union

    And if Cho showed up, I'm sure you've shown them how to hide under a desk.

  • rargos Apr 30, 5:33 p.m.

    "oh you poor baby......does baby need a big gun so he can feel many on building sites? -- Grand Union"

    Pity that the best argument you have is lame attempts at insulting people you disagree with.

    "When you have no case, abuse the plantiff" - Cicero

  • rargos Apr 30, 5:30 p.m.

    "In fact a quick google shows that a NC CCW holder named Humberto Delgado, Jr was convicted of killing a cop in Tampa.- NYtoNC81"

    A "quick Google" yields inaccurate propaganda from an anti-gun group ("Violence Policy Center"). A little more research from a reputable source (i.e. the local news channel), tells a different story.

    http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=220780

    If Delgado really held a valid NC CCW permit (which is also valid in FL), then how could he be found guilty of carrying a concealed weapon???

    It speaks volumes that the anti-CCW folks can't even come up with a SINGLE solid example of a NC CCW holder who committed a violent crime -- out of 250,000 people in 20 years.

  • lrfarms27572 Apr 30, 5:00 p.m.

    yea, imagine how it would look for crime to almost instantly plummet on college campuses around the state. Campus PD would have their hands full with free time."

    would it? please show that to be the case. bet you can't

    Of course I can't. There are virtually no colleges in NC that allow CCW holders to carry.

    All the criminals would head off to some new gun free zone in search of easier targets.

    Campuses are not gun free, they have a higher ratio of cops than most places.....only dumb people commit crimes there.

    Yes they are gun free, otherwise we would no be having this debate. I would argue that only dumb ppl commit crimes period.

    "You know I've always wondered why criminals don't attack cops? Is it b/c they are some authority figure or is it b/c their armed?"

    Cops get attacked by criminals all the time......despite them being armed, so much for that claim.

    Really? I must miss those stories in the news.

  • Grand Union Apr 30, 4:57 p.m.

    "On the other hand, there's not a *SINGLE* example of a NC CCW permit holder illegally injuring or killing somone with their firearms -- that's 250,000 permit holders in NC alone, over a period of 20 years."

    well lets keep it that way :) go play with your toys someplace else.

  • lrfarms27572 Apr 30, 4:57 p.m.

    Campus law enforcement works for the university. Do you really think that the head of campus police is going to publically disagree with his boss?

    rargos

    betting the anti's don't touch this one and continue on with the propaganda and rhetoric campaign

  • lrfarms27572 Apr 30, 4:55 p.m.

    "Guns don't mix well with places where they aren't allowed by law abiding citizens. If you haven't noticed that's usually the places where bad things with guns occur..in places they aren't allowed."

    Given thats almost everywhere public in the US thats hardly significant.....

    Grand Union

    Good. Now you see the problem, but it is significant.

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