Oklahoma legislators push for research on campus carry

Lawmakers in Oklahoma are pushing for allowing licensed gun owners to carry on campus, amid objections from officials at both the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.

Rep. John Enns (R-Enid), Sen. Ralph Shortey (R-Oklahoma City), and Sen. AJ Griffin (R-Guthrie) are leading the push for more gun rights as they requested a joint study on the effects of concealed carry on college campuses.

Enns sponsored legislation earlier this year to allow concealed carry on college campuses.

“Under no circumstances shall consent to carry a handgun by a person with a handgun license on college, university or technology center school property be denied by the college or university president or technology center school administrator unless evidence is shown that the licensee has previously been involved in a violent incident or an act on school property that showed deliberate or reckless disregard for the health or safety of faculty or other students,” HB 2887 states.

This bill has passed the House but has not emerged from the Senate Public Safety Committee.

“It passed the House 52-39...but it never went anywhere,” a spokeswoman for Sen. Kim David (R-Porter) told Campus Reform. “It looks like the bill is dead.”

However, the issue remains active for the next legislative session as the request for an interim study proposal on finding the “[c]urrent statistics on concealed carry on college and university campuses” was approved.

“I hear from a lot of parents of college kids, and I hear from college kids, as well,” Enns told The Oklahoman. “For anyone to say our college campuses are safe, that’s totally not true.”

Shortey agrees that a college campus can be dangerous for students, especially women.

“If there were a predator out there whose prey is young college-aged women and he wanted to assault them, where would he go to do that? He would go to a place where they are vulnerable, where they are unarmed and where he has the highest chance of success. And that is a college campus,” Shortey said.

However, some officials from the largest universities in the state disagree with their stance.

“Placing guns on campus, except in the hands of highly trained law enforcement officers and professionals, would be a serious mistake and would lead only to tragic results,” University of Oklahoma President David Boren said.

Currently, a licensed gun owner must obtain the written consent of a college president in order to carry a weapon on campus.

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