The Independent recently polled Clark students asking them if they were aware that those with a Concealed Pistol License are allowed to carry their handgun on campus. Of the 536 who responded 69 percent said they were not.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they believed that students, faculty or staff with a CPL should be allowed to carry.
The Clark Code of Student Conduct states:
“Weapons. Possession or use of firearms, explosives, dangerous chemicals, or other dangerous weapons, which can be used to inflict bodily harm or to damage real or personal property is prohibited on the college campus, at any other facilities leased or operated by the college, or at any activity under the administration or sponsorship of the college. Exceptions to this policy are permitted when the weapon is used in conjunction with an approved college instructional program, is carried by duly constituted law enforcement officer, or is otherwise permitted by law.”
Assistant Attorney General Bonnie Terada, who advises the college on legal policy, interpreted the last six words of the code to mean that those with a CPL are allowed to carry a concealed handgun on campus said Vice President of Administrative Services Bob Williamson. He said the Attorney General’s Office is divided on the issue.
This exception to the weapons policy only applies to handguns and to those with a CPL.
The majority of those polled agree with Terada’s decision.
“Personally, I would feel safer knowing that there were law abiding citizens that carry. Especially in light of the fact we really have no protection for the convicted sex offenders being allowed on campus,” said one respondent.
Self-defense is the most common reason people said they agreed with the policy.
“There is a reason law abiding [individuals] carry a weapon concealed. No one needs to know. It could mean the difference between a tragedy and a close call before law enforcement arrives. However, not all license holders have the skill necessary to tackle a possible lethal force situation. The responsible individual should assess their own ability and knowledge before deciding to carry on campus, or anywhere in public,” said another.
Other students opposed the current policy. One anonymous student said, “It makes me quite uncomfortable that the person I may be sitting next to in class could be carrying a weapon. Although I can understand that this person is exercising their 2nd Amendment right, I feel that weapons should be exempt from schools. This is college. Our main focus should be achieving a higher education. If these students are carrying in fear of not being able to protect themselves in the event of a school shooting, then I think a better option would be to employ police officers to patrol the campus.”
Getting a license to carry a concealed handgun isn’t complicated. There are requisite background checks, but all you have to do is fill out a form and pay a fee. As long as you don’t have a record indicating you are a threat to others, you will have a license within a couple of months, and it is good for five years.