UNC chief wants concealed weapons item out of bill

April 30, 2013 9:23:10 AM PDT
A bill that would allow guns on campus is catching some heat. UNC System President Tom Ross calls the bill "a potential risk to public safety."

To arm or not to arm is the question.

"I believe in our amendment right to bear arms," said parent Flora Frost.

"I don't agree that anything should be left in a car especially on a school campus," said parent Lisa Howard.

With more than 34,000 students, N.C. State is a prime example of House Bill 937's impact.

Under the proposal, concealed handgun permit holders could lock handguns in their cars on any of the 17 UNC System's campuses, which includes community colleges.

"Anywhere near a college campus is just unsafe I think," said N.C. State sophomore Morgan Brinson.

Brinson's opinion is more in line with UNC-Chapel Hill's Public Safety Director Jeff McCracken who said in a statement, "While intended to promote safety, this legislation allowing additional guns on public campuses actually would make colleges and universities less safe."

The other argument is about car break-ins, which is a top crime on campuses.

"Like somebody could just break into somebody else car and get their gun out and run around campus," said Brinson.

"As long as you have a safe and secure spot to keep it hidden and concealed," said N.C. freshman Andrew Thompson.

In a written statement, Ross said, "When responding to an armed robbery or active shooter incident, our officers would often be hard pressed to distinguish between a criminal suspect and well-intentioned bystanders with weapons drawn, particularly in the heat of the moment."

In addition to college campuses, the bill would let permit holders carry handguns into select bars and restaurants.

"If there ever did arise a situation to where some violence or a crime occurred on campus, a shooting per se, you would actually be able to go out there and defend yourself," said Thompson.

A House committee voted for a gun bill last week that contained the provision, which gun-rights advocates call a crime deterrent.

A floor vote previously scheduled for Tuesday has been delayed.

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