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State Legislation Would Allow People To Carry Guns On College Campuses

Nov 29, 2016

Advocates on both sides of a proposed bill in the Ohio House to relax restrictions on gun-free zones are wasting no time in weighing in on yesterday's attack at Ohio State University by a knife wielding student. 

Alison Holm has more.

By Monday afternoon, the Buckeye Firearms Association issued a press release saying that the morning's attack on the Ohio State main campus shows Ohio's ban on concealed weapons on school grounds creates "victim zones' . Association board president Jim Irvine says had people at OSU been allowed to carry guns, they could have responded "in seconds" instead of the few minutes it took for campus police to arrive on the scene. Irvine called for passage of House Bill 48, which would lift the automatic ban on weapons on school grounds from universities to daycare facilities. At the same time the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Safety, formed in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in New Jersey, renewed it's opposition to House Bill 48, and called for a day of advocacy with state lawmakers Tuesday. Both groups called on their supporters to attend hearings on the bill this week.

House Bill 48 would let individual colleges and universities decide whether to ban concealed weapons on campus, and would give schools legal protection in cases involving people carrying weapons on campus. It would also reduce the penalty for carrying an unauthorized firearm on school grounds from a felony to a minor misdemeanor. Supporters say concealed carry on campus could provide an extra layer of security, and would protect those who accidentally take a weapon onto a campus. Critics argue allowing more weapons on campus would make schools *less* safe, and the bill weakens the concealed carry law.

The measure passed the Ohio House last year. An Ohio Senate committee is holding hearings on the bill today and Wednesday. If a bill isn't passed by the end of the year, the measure will die and will have to be re-introduced in the next session.