Group advocates for concealed weapons
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012 01:09
Students across America are beginning to partake in an organization that advocates for concealed firearms on college campuses. Students for Concealed Carry is a national college organization that persuades state legislatures and college administrations to allow faculty, staff and students to carry concealed firearms on campus.
A total of 35 states currently have campus concealed-carry laws, and more states are considering revising their gun laws to allow the same procedure. The most recent college to allow concealed carry is the University of Colorado. They announced their new policy on Aug. 17, which allows students and faculty to carry weapons as long as they remain concealed.
Created in 2007, Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) emerged following the Virginia Tech shootings that led to 32 deaths, and they now have over 44,000 members across the United States. SCC says that though they agree most college campuses are safe, brutal instances still occur that lead to rape and even murder.
“We believe that ‘gun free zones’ serve to disarm only those law-abiding citizens who might otherwise be able to protect themselves,” said a statement on the group’s website.
SCC is a non-profit, grassroots organization that does not affiliate with any political group or the National Rifle Association (NRA). Mississippi has one branch of SCC at Mississippi State University, but no other chapter exists in the state.
For years, Mississippi law prohibited people from carrying weapons, openly or concealed, in places such as courthouses, churches and college and universities, but laws have since been revised. House Bills 506 and 881 went into affect in July 2011.
The laws allow for an individual with a special training endorsement on their permit to carry concealed firearms in places outlawed under the former regulations. Therefore, locations like the above mentioned, “except courtrooms during judicial proceedings and any place of nuisance,” are now legal places to carry concealed weapons with the proper permit.
In order to receive this special permit, a potential gun carrier must fill out paperwork, provide fingerprints, pay a background fee and other miscellaneous charges and take an eight hour course on gun safety. After everything is completed and the background search is approved, the person will be allowed to carry a concealed weapon, according to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.
Despite the changes in state law, public universities are not required to alter their firearm policies. According to the firearm policy at the University of Southern Mississippi, students are not allowed to carry weapons on campus openly or concealed.
MSU has a similar firearm policy to USM. The University of Mississippi, however, changed its policy to allow weapon owners the right to carry as long as it is concealed with a proper permit.
Though the SCC advocates for all public and private universities, they do not expect all private colleges to abide by the policy.
“We strongly supports the rights of private property owners; therefore, SCC believes that the issue of concealed carry at private colleges must be handled through negotiations with school administrators,” said the SCC.
The SCC has drawn many opponents since it began. The Brady Campaign is a grassroots organization that advocates for more strict gun laws. It was created in 2001 to persuade state legislators to enact laws that prohibit weapons on public properties.
If you want to learn more about Students for Concealed Carry or the Brady Campaign, visit concealedcarry.org or bradycampaign.org.