Oklahoma University Presidents Adopt Resolution Opposing Gun Bill

Article excerpt

Presidents from more than two dozen Oklahoma universities oppose a bill aimed at letting some people carry concealed weapons on campus.

University of Central Oklahoma President Roger Webb said he knows House Bill 2513 is well-intended.

"But if the goal is to make campuses in Oklahoma safer, this is absolutely the wrong way to do it," Webb said.

The original bill would have allowed anyone with a license to carry a concealed weapon to do so on university grounds. The bill was later amended to limit that to active military personnel, honorably discharged veterans and those who have been certified by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training to carry a weapon.

Webb said allowing guns on campus would provide more opportunity for shooting incidents.

"It's just a bad fit, and I can't believe any legislator who is a parent would want a daughter or son sitting in a class or auditorium next to someone with a concealed weapon," he said. "The possibility of accidental discharge of a gun in a classroom and killing someone is far greater than a terrorist or killer breaking into the classroom."

Webb is just one of 25 college and university leaders who sit on the Council of Presidents, an advisory group to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. The 21 present members of council unanimously adopted a resolution March 5 opposing House Bill 2513. The state House of Representatives approved the bill Thursday. It now heads to the state Senate.

Although it seems university administrators resoundingly condemn allowing concealed weapons on campus, some students like the idea.

Ryan Cannonie, a senior at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, has created an online group in support of the measure.

"With everything that's gone on lately with school shootings, I think we should be able to protect ourselves the same way we do when we walk down the street," he said.

Cannonie said he is not a rabid advocate for gun rights, and he knows people from diverse backgrounds who carry concealed handguns.

"They are just like anyone else," he said. "They're not the stereotypical person running around yelling about their Second Amendment rights."

Cannonie said he supports the bill even more now that it is limited to active and honorably discharged military personnel and others with law enforcement training. …