Slippery Rock students take weapons policy in stride
In the 15 months since Slippery Rock University implemented a weapons policy, school officials said little has changed.
“There have been no protests for or against. There was talk about it when it started, op-eds in the school newspaper. ... Parents in general don't like the idea of having guns on a college campus. At some point, this will have to be worked out,” said Karl Schwab, a university spokesman.
Slippery Rock now allows students who are permitted to carry guns to do so on campus as long as they don't enter any buildings or go to any university events with them.
The policy, implemented in October 2012, mirrors one the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education System recently delayed considering. It has been trying to develop a uniform gun policy across the system for several years.
Today, similar policies are in effect at six of the system's 14 schools, implemented based on recommendations from lawyers.
Slippery Rock had no weapons policy before the present one.
“We have students who hunt. They used to lock up their rifles with the school police,” Schwab said.
Adoption of weapons policies comes amid challenges to blanket bans at various U.S. universities.
“There have been threats of potential lawsuits,” said Ken Marshall, a spokesman for the state system. “The system is looking at developing a uniform policy, but more time is needed.”
Supporters and opponents of gun control both share contempt for policies like Slippery Rock's, which they say are simply crafted to avoid lawsuits.
“The policy is illegal. It is also a resolution in search of a problem,” said Kim Stolfer, president of Firearms Owners Against Crime.
Stolfer said the state system's schools won't be any safer if the policy becomes rule.
“If this policy passes, we will see a mass shooting. Gun-free areas are places where criminals know people won't have guns,” he said.
Under Pennsylvania law, people 21 and older who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon can carry them in vehicles and on their person in public places, except for primary and secondary schools, courthouses and casinos.
Some advocates of fewer gun restrictions at state universities say the schools do not have the right to ban weapons on public property. Opponents differ.
“That's a legal argument I'd like to see made,” said Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFire PA.
“Weapons are banned in courts, government buildings and the state legislature itself. There are public spaces and buildings where guns do not belong.”
Goodman also said the policy as proposed would create problems.
“We all know that college students party. Do we really want to add guns to that mix?”
Requiring people carrying a gun on campus to put it in their car or somewhere else before they enter a building is problematic, Goodman said.
“And now everyone knows that there will be guns in cars at these schools. What happens when a gun stolen from Slippery Rock is used in a crime?” she asked.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Excitement building for new farm store at Clearview Mall
- Fireworks festival hopes to draw crowd to Cooper’s Lake
- Cranberry walkers, bikers dramatically gain more friendly trails
- Butler Downtown group to continue
- Butler Treasurer Marburger seeks Republican nomination
- Butler police arrest man on charges connected to theft of copper pipe
- Harmony, Zelienople fire departments talk merger
- Large number of commissioner candidates could muddy campaign waters in Butler County
- Committee meeting set to ‘refresh’ Cranberry’s traffic improvement plan