Proposed law may allow guns on campus

Gun control has always been a hot topic of debate, and nowhere has it been more contested than the presence of firearms on school property.

UND police officers are currently the only ones allowed to carry firearms on campus.

However, if the North Dakota State Senate passes House Bill 1195, this may no longer be the case. If enacted, HB1195 would allow residents that possess a Class 1 concealed carry permit to carry firearms on school grounds across the state.

Though the bill allows the concealed carrying of firearms on school property, it is still up to individual schools to determine whether or not to accept the policy. Sophomore Joe Dietz said he hoped UND would not allow concealed carry on campus.

“I’d rather not have people walking around with guns,” Dietz said. “I would feel less safe knowing that other people besides the police were carrying firearms, and I’m just worried that accidents might happen otherwise.”

Adjunct instructor of communication Chuck Haga had similar worries pertaining to firearm related accidents.

“If you are a woman and you are walking around campus at night, I can certainly understand the need to protect yourself,” Haga said. “I understand the desire to feel safer, but as I weigh the disadvantages, I feel there is more potential for accidents.”

After citing the high number of sexual assault cases reported on college campuses around the U.S., Haga also explained that more firearms may not be the solution to personal safety on campus, but rather a more preventative approach.

“We ought not to leave it up to the victim to do whatever it is that’s necessary to not be the victim,” Haga said. “I’d rather see more effort put into preventing the violence, and changing the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality.”

Bill specifics

Armed Campuses, a website that reviews the legal status of guns on campuses in the U.S., showed that if HB 1195 is passed, North Dakota would join the list of over 20 other states that gives its schools the option of whether or not to allow the concealed carrying of firearms on school grounds.

Similar bills have been introduced in other states, including Texas, Montana, South Dakota and a handful of others, according to an article by the New York Times.

Along with the mandatory class required to obtain the Class 1 license, the bill also states that residents would need to go through more extensive training, including, “… additional training that emphasizes strategies for preventing school shootings and for securing the safety of potential victims of shootings … [and] improves the trainee’s proficiency with a handgun.”

Before being allowed to conceal carry a firearm on campus, permit holders would first have to pass an examination administered by the school to determine if the holder “… is psychologically fit to appropriately respond in an emergency shooting or situation involving an active shooter.” If the holder passes the examination, they are then registered at nearby police department.

After hearing about the stringent criteria that would have to be met to carry a firearm on campus, freshman Lucas Mlinar believed it could be an asset to the school.

“I would feel safer knowing that the people that conceal carry would be approved by the police and the campus,” Mlinar said. “I think it would deter people that might want to cause harm at UND.”

Brendan McCabe is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].