Faculty and staff at Liberty University have for several years been allowed to carry concealed firearms into university buildings, but the Lynchburg, Virginia, school has recently expanded its policy to include students and visitors with valid licenses to carry as well.
According to WSET, students and visitors previously could carry on the university's campus but not in the buildings. The new policy still restricts concealed carrying or storing guns in dorm buildings.
"These are the same people who are able to carry concealed weapons throughout the city, throughout the state. The state has blessed them and we've also run our separate check on them here with our university police department before they're issued an extra permit that allows them privileges on our campus," David Corry with the university's General Counsel said, according to WSET.
The university has not updated its web page regarding firearms on campus to reflect this change yet, but it reveals a prior change a few years ago that removed the campus' "total ban" on firearms "in light of the trend regarding respecting concealed weapons permits on university campuses.
Since allowing concealed carrying by some on campus since 2011, the university reported having no incidents.
With that, senior and student senate member Craig Storrs, who worked with administrators to develop the expanded concealed carry policy, told WSET he believed "students and the faculty and the staff have proven themselves responsible and capable of handling firearms on the college campus."
Watch WSET's report:
“I think it’s good that Liberty is a little more open than some schools, and I think it’ll continue to create a higher level of security on campus than what was found at Virginia Tech,” Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. said Tuesday referencing the fatal shooting that occurred in 2007, according to the News Advance.
John Johnson, a spokesperson for the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, told the News Advance the "answer to gun violence is not more guns."
Johnson continued that he believed a student with a concealed firearm would be "unlikely to prevent a mass shooting or crime."
The document detailing Liberty University's weapons policy was updated March 22 though to reflect the change. According to the policy, those wishing to exercise their ability to concealed carry on campus and in buildings must first submit a written request to the university police. Within 15 days of submitting the completed application, the LUPD issues a written response granting or denying the request. LUPD keeps a record of all applications and those approved for concealed carry. The policy states that those carrying on campus should be prepared to provide documentation of their approval immediately when asked by authorities.
Anyone wishing to concealed carry on campus needs to have a license issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
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