The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Published 5/29/13 | Log In
University presidents ask Congress act ON GUN CONTROL
By KARA SPOELSTRA, Staff Reporter
Published: January 16, 2013
In response to the Sandy Hook tragedy of last month, as well as other gun-related violence on school campuses, over 300 college presidents, including President Daniel J. Martin, signed a letter in support of gun safety on college campuses.
College and university leaders from more than 40 states signed their names to an online, open letter addressed to our nation’s policy leaders.
“It is an issue that we’re all concerned about,” Martin said. “Sandy Hook is what generated it, but there are a number of issues related to gun control on campuses, and there are a number of current concerns of institutions across the United States.”
The letter, which was initiated by Lawrence Schall of Oglethorpe University in Georgia, calls for four specific actions from representatives: opposition of legislation that allows guns on campuses and in classrooms, an end to the “gun-show loophole,” a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons, and regulations of consumer safety standards.
As a friend of Schall, Martin was involved in early drafts of the letter.
According to the National Conference of State Legislature’s website, carrying a concealed weapon on college campuses is banned in 21 states. In 23 other states, including Washington, each college or university makes the decision individually. At SPU, students can’t possess firearms on campus.
In Colorado, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin, laws allow the possession of concealed weapons on campus.
Martin is also taking steps to ensure the safety of SPU’s campus.
“On this campus we are responsible for the safety of so many in a setting that’s hard to contain at a moment’s notice,” he said, explaining that there are several drills, procedures and communication steps in place in case of an emergency. “Issues like this prompted conversations to ensure our own readiness,” he said.
Junior Ben Stout said that, despite his opinions on national gun control, he thinks that restrictions on guns on campuses are a good idea.
Freshman Kristin Drinnon said she thinks gun control is important.
“I think people have the right to have a gun if they want for safety reasons, but they shouldn’t necessarily be allowed in schools,” Drinnon said.
Junior Michele Equitz agreed.
“I wouldn’t want guns on campus,” she said.
The letter has received attention from news sources across the country, including CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
The next step is contacting official representatives, according to an email from Schall. The letter will be personally delivered to Vice President Biden this week.
The letter and signatures can be found on collegepresidentsforgunsafety.org.