Bill for guns on public universities and community colleges

Published: Feb. 21, 2017 at 6:52 AM CST
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A newly-proposed bill would allow weapons on campus at public universities and community colleges in the state.

Republican Senator Jake Chapman, from Adel, said the bill is necessary so that students can protect themselves, especially in the case of a mass shooting.

“If I was in that situation, I would want to protect myself,” Iowa State student Lexie Stone said.

Stone and fellow student and Gabbie Nolasco said they are both in the process of getting a permit to carry.

“I am signed up to get my permit to carry, so it wouldn't bother me if you could carry on campus,” Stone said.

Three public universities in Iowa currently ban weapons on campus.

Chapman said most mass-casualty shootings happen in gun-free zones, and his bill would allow anyone with a permit to carry a gun on campus.

“All we are wanting to do is allow good law-abiding citizens the right to protect themselves in these situations,” Chapman said.

Right now, eight states have a similar law.

“If you look at the data and all the states that have this, it's actually been relatively safe,” ISU President Steven Leath said.

Leath said he has to look more closely at the bill before giving a public opinion.

Right now, the Iowa Board of Regents has the final say on weapons on campus. Chapman’s bill would strip away that control.

The Board of Regents released a statement opposing the bill Monday, saying it “infringes on the statutory control of the Board of Regents."

“I think it will scare a lot of people,” ISU student Adam Mortensen said.

Mortensen said more guns on campus would make him feel less safe.

“I think people have a right to carry it outside of a university, but (with) so many crowded people in the area … I don't think it’s right for people to be carrying around firearms,” Mortensen said.

The bill is assigned to a subcommittee, and still has a long way to go before it is approved.