Local News

NCSU students want to pack heat on campus

Posted February 10, 2009 6:07 p.m. EST
Updated February 10, 2009 8:45 p.m. EST

— Some North Carolina State University students are wearing empty gun holsters on campus this week to protest a state law prohibiting them from carrying concealed weapons on campus.

"Everyone should be given a right to defend themselves no matter where they are," said Daryl Johnson, a member of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, a national group that gained attention in the wake of the massacre of 32 students on the Virginia Tech campus in April 2007.

"We are just trying to show that we are law-abiding citizens. We carry off campus, or we support carrying off campus," Johnson said.

Nearly 128,000 concealed carry permits have been issued in North Carolina since 1995, including 8,300 in Wake County, according to the State Bureau of Investigation.

About 20 members of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus are taking part in the empty holster protest this week, he said. Similar protests are expected on other college campuses in North and South Carolina and Virginia, he said.

Chief Tom Younce of the N.C. State campus police said he disagrees with the effort to pack heat on campus, but he said his officers won't interfere with the protest.

"We're a very close-knit organization, the university is. You've got about 8,000 to 9,000 students living close on campus – in dorm rooms – (and) I don't think it's a good idea (to allow concealed weapons)," Younce said.

Any changes to the rules would have to come from state lawmakers.

"I believe that the more people you see with a weapon, the more acceptable it's going to be. It's not going to have that stigma that, 'Oh my gosh, it's bad,'" Johnson said.