Students voice their opinions on MU gun policy lawsuit
The MU concealed carry policy may be considered unconstitutional.
Oct. 08, 2015
MU associate law professor Royce de R. Barondes is suing MU over its prohibition of firearms, which he believes is unconstitutional. MU’s firearm policy restricts guns on university property, with the exception of approved programs, university agents or employees in the line of duty.
Sophomore Veronica Long said she sometimes feels unsafe on campus unarmed.
“As a woman walking around campus at night, you know, there might not be a staff member available or a police officer on hand that could save me from something that I could potentially save myself from,” Long said.
Missouri allows concealed carry permits for Missouri residents and members or spouses of members of the armed forces who apply and are at least 19 years of age, have taken an eight-hour firearms safety course and pay a non-refundable $100 fee.
Freshman and Maneater staffer Jake Chiarelli said he feels allowing concealed carry on MU campus would more than likely make the environment hostile.
“With the current climate nationally being what it is with so many violent incidents of shootings in college campuses in the last ten years alone, I don’t think that making more guns available on campus is really the solution,” Chiarelli said.
Long said eliminating guns does not eliminate crime.
“Saying ‘gun-free-zone’ just means all law-abiding citizens don’t have guns right now,” Long said.
According to MU Police Department’s 2015 Fire and Safety Report, there were five weapon arrests on campus in 2014. However, there is no issue when it comes to MU students obeying MU’s current gun policy, Weimer said.
“Those (arrests) were mostly weapons found in cars going through campus,” MUPD Maj. Brian Weimer said.
While Mizzou College Democrats did not have an official comment on the subject, the group wants it to be known that it values campus safety and MU students.
“Our mission is to provide information and invoke political discussion among our members so that they can form their own opinions on issues like these,” Communicator Director Jordan Pellerito said on behalf of Mizzou College Democrats. “As such, we feel that any official stance on this issue would defeat the purpose of our organization in providing an atmosphere for those with open minds, differing opinions, and respectful discussion.”
Long feels that properly storing guns and ammunition is part of the solution to gun violence on college campuses.
“If you look at these shootings and you find out about how they obtained these weapons, it’s always like, ‘Oh, it was their dad’s gun or it was their uncle’s gun or someone around the family had a gun and they took it,’” Long said. “What the proper thing to have done is properly store that so no one else but yourself could get to that gun.”
Chiarelli thinks gun violence can be solved by educating students to be aware of their surroundings.
“Make sure gun policies are in place where people know how to react if they see a gun, that they know how to respond if there is some kind of incident on campus,” Chiarelli said.
A total of three states in the U.S. allow concealed carry for their students: Colorado, Idaho and Utah.
“Colorado State University follows Colorado state law regarding weapons and concealed carry,” CSU spokesman Michael Hooker said when asked about CSU’s gun policy. Hooker had no further comments.
Although CSU allows concealed carry on its campus, according to CSU’s website, there are no guns allowed inside of residential halls, dining halls or university apartments. However, the CSU police department will store any weapons or ammunition CSU students may have, as does the MU police department for MU students.
Mizzou College Republicans President Skyler Roundtree said guns can be used as protection if given to only administrators and professors who have been properly trained.
“I feel like our society automatically blames the guns for being the issue,” Roundtree said. “One of my favorite sayings is: ‘The sword is only the tool in the killer’s hand.’ What that means is that we had many people die from car accidents this year, but you don’t see people demanding cars to be illegal because they kill people.”
MU spokesman Christian Basi had no comment on the lawsuit.
As of Sept. 21, the Cole County Circuit accepted the case. Criminal Defense Lawyer Jennifer Bukowsky will be representing Barondes in challenging the policy.
“The student body just needs to be aware of what is going on and be vocal about their opinions,” Chiarelli said.