Concealed guns could be allowed on campus

In the Michigan state Senate, a bill is in the works that would remove universities and college campuses from the list of “gun-free zones.”


On Aug. 19, Sen. Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, introduced a bill to amend Senate Bill 747 to allow Concealed Pistol License holders to carry their registered handguns in college dormitories and classrooms, two of several listed exceptions to the current concealed carry laws in Michigan. Richardville said the bill would allow people to be able to protect themselves on college campuses.


He also said that this wouldn’t be the first time that citizens licensed to carry concealed weapons would be able to do so on all parts of campus.


“There was no restrictions made until the 2000s, we are just looking to reinstate rights back to responsible gun owners,” said Richardville.


On the senator’s website he further discusses his support for the bill, stating that those who have permits to carry a weapon have undergone proper training as well as extensive background checks.


To be “properly trained” in Michigan means one must participate in eight hours of training with both classroom and range components, as well as meet specific requirements listed on the Michigan State Police website.


Some of the requirements include being 21 years old, being a Michigan citizen for at least six months, having no prior felony record, and having not been diagnosed with a mental illness.


While Oakland University administration declined to comment on the issue, feelings on campus are mixed.


Junior and concealed carry permit holder, Alexander Kolanek, is strongly in favor of the bill.


“I would be able to keep not only myself, but also my classmates safe in a worst case scenario situation,” said Kolanek. “Police can’t be everywhere.”


Kolanek, who has been a competitive shooter since he was young, feels that the those who go through the process of obtaining a Concealed Pistol License would be level-headed people.


“Basically everyone who carries one is a law-abiding person already and has a background check from not only the State Police, but also the FBI. It’s not like they just give them away,” said Kolanek.

Senior Nickie Molinaro agrees. “Everyone I know that carries is very level-headed … there is a point in many laws where it says, ‘Use force when necessary.’ If you see someone arguing, is it necessary at that point? No. It takes good judgment which is a part of the class.”


Molinaro also believes that laws requiring license are contrary to his Second Amendment rights.


“Initially I didn’t want to get one because it is my right as a state citizen and U.S. national to be able to carry a gun,” Molinaro said.


Under current Michigan law, students and visitors are prohibited from carrying weapons into dorms and classrooms only. While OU forbids students and visitors to carry firearms anywhere on campus, other Michigan universities are not making additional exceptions.


This past June, Michigan State University’s board of trustees voted that those with permits for their guns be allowed to carry them on campus, with the current statewide exclusion of classrooms and dormitories.


Paul Kubicek, chairman of OU’s political science department, finds the bill to be “unnecessary and extremely risky.”


“The idea that individuals who carry concealed weapons would be able to handle a crisis effectively without escalating a situation and causing harm to other people is very, very dubious,” Kubicek said.


Oakland University Police Chief, Sam Lucido, joins in Kubicek’s opposition.


“A large portion of our campus community is young, and people mature at different ages and levels. After almost 40 years in law enforcement, I remain concerned about judgment when it comes to the possession of firearms,” Lucido said.


Lucido believes that while in most confrontations that occur on campus,”cooler heads usually prevail,” having firearms on campus is an avoidable danger.


“Larceny remains our number one crime problem. While most students are responsible, we still have a theft problem involving laptops, cell phones and iPods. I wouldn’t want to add firearms to that category of commonly lost or stolen property,” Lucido said.


In the past, OU has had occasional problems with excessive alcohol consumption and Lucido thinks there is an even larger danger when you pair firearms and alcohol. “Alcohol and firearms do not mix and I am concerned about throwing the possible possession of firearms into that type of scenario.”


Graduate student Kevin McKenna is also concerned about the combination of students and firearms that could occur if SB 747 is passed.


“College campuses have young people and alcohol, and I am not comfortable adding guns to the mix. There are reasons firearms should not be permitted on campuses, just as they are banned in bars,” McKenna said. “If the bill passes, maybe parents will put leverage on the individual universities to ban them by choice.”


Molinaro and Kolanek disagree and feel that alcohol consumption should not be brought into the decision due to the fact that it is already illegal for those carrying weapons to consume alcohol, as well as illegal under the “zero-tolerance” alcohol policy at Oakland.


Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, who have student representatives in all 50 states, including one at Oakland Community College, feel that the restriction of carrying guns on campuses serves to “disarm only those law-abiding citizens who might otherwise be able to protect themselves.”


“In other states where lawful concealed carry has been permitted for some time in all areas of the campus environment, such as at all public colleges and universities in Utah and at Colorado State University, no problems with those carrying in accordance with the law have been reported,” said Al Baker, vice president of SCCC.


Sophomore Elisa Malile disagrees with the idea that allowing guns on campuses would be beneficial for the safety of students and believes that there are more important things the government should be doing for colleges and universities.


“This bill is promoting violence. I think our government should be focusing on setting up programs that prevent violence and better lockdown methods for schools,” Malile said.


There has currently been no progress on the bill, in either direction, since it was referred to the Judiciary Committee in August. “After looking at the bill we want to have good input and hear everyone’s concerns. We’re looking to increase safety, not decrease it,” Richardville said.