Last week, the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) chapter at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio proposed a bill advocating for the University to recognize the rights of concealed carry license holders to carry on campus. The bill, No More Victims, passed in the Student Senate 12 to 6 but was vetoed the next morning by Student Body President Jason Fugate who cited irregular parliamentary procedure.
The legislation was created in response to a recent sexual assault that took place in the campus library and asked the Board of Trustees to “revise the Student Code of Conduct to allow for students to defend themselves within the greatest breadth allowed by the Ohio Revised Code”.
Noting an unsettling trend of violent crime occurring on and around the campus, the authors of the bill voiced concerns about safety issues. According to the bill authors, students at Capital are at a greater risk relative to students at other schools. Universities that have adopted similar policies to the proposed bill have seen significant decrease in crime rates.
“I believe that students have a right to self-defense, and ultimately the significance of this legislation is determining whether Capital University believes students have that right or not,” Garrett Kehr, the founder of Capital University’s YAL chapter and the senator who introduced the legislation, told Red Alert Politics.
Despite strong student and Senate support, Student Body President Fugate vetoed the bill.
“This is a university whose position is that bringing weapons into a learning community is not going to make it safer,” said University spokeswoman Nichole Johnson to ABC6 News.
Undeterred by the setback, student advocates of gun rights have vowed to continue fighting for their right to carry. The Capital University YAL chapter already held a townhall meeting where they defended the merits of the bill and sought to garner further support.
Local media attempted to cover the event, however, university officials explicitly barred media from entering the library to cover the meeting. The exclusion of a media presence was met with little explanation aside from officials stating, “they did not know what the event was about.”
Despite strong opposition from the university, supporters of the campus carry legislation are working hard to overturn the veto and see the return of concealed carry to their campus. This past week has shown that Capital University administrators are seemingly open to conversations but reluctant to act in response to overwhelming student demands.