Inside Politics

Concealed weapons on campus worry some police

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A bill at the state legislature is causing concern for police chiefs of college campuses across the state. Among many things the bill would allow those with concealed carry permits to have their guns on campus property.

While supporters say the goal of the bill is to increase safety, some worry it would only complicate things if there ever was a shooter on campus.

"This is ridiculous. It's absolutely ridiculous," said one opponent to the plan.

"Taken as a whole, the sheriffs support the bill," said Gregg Stahl, with the N.C. Sheriff's Association.

People on both sides of the issue voice concern over House Bill 937, which relaxes some restrictions for those with concealed gun permits.  Adding to the fight against it are 17 police chiefs from college campuses across the state. That list includes Chief Jack Moorman of N.C. State.

"It would add to confusion and chaos," said Moorman.

Moorman's main concern is if the bill passes chaos could come with it. Especially if there is ever a shooter on campus, and Good Samaritans packing heat.

"Anytime you have a major incident, your initial information is often incorrect, people give inaccurate descriptions," said Moorman. "Well now is that the suspect, or is that someone who is gone to get a weapon to help out?"

With theft being the most common crime on campus, Moorman worries about guns getting into the wrong hands. That's the same concern from Attorney General Roy Cooper.

"Eliminating permit background checks means more criminals, domestic abusers and the dangerous mentally ill can legally buy handguns," said Cooper. "Instead, we should be looking for ways to keep guns from them."

The Senate version requires a concealed weapons permit or background check, but no permit from the sheriff's office as is the case now.

Now, as the bill heads to the full senate, lawmakers must decide if they agree with the opposition, or if allowing guns in the right hands will serve the greater good.  

The bill also toughens punishment for those with guns who break the law.

As far as allowing guns on campus, in the bill, private schools are able to opt out, and public schools want the same option.  

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