- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
College presidents oppose more guns on campus
More than 350 sign letter to back Obama proposal
Question of the Day
College presidents and university officials on Monday rejected the idea of arming students and faculty on college campuses, saying the best solution to combat gun violence is to enact President Obama's plans to ban some weapons and ammunition magazines and conduct background checks on all gun buyers.
The shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December have brought renewed attention to gun advocacy groups such as the National Rifle Association and gun-control groups such as Mayors Against Illegal Guns, but college presidents made clear that they want to be part of the conversation as well, on the side of gun control.
"We have presidents from more than 40 states: red states and blue states, urban states and rural states," Lawrence Schall, president of Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, said at a news conference in Washington organized by Mayors Against Illegal Guns. "We have presidents who have never owned a gun and we have presidents who have led our armed forces into war."
More than 350 college presidents from across the country have signed a letter opposing the idea of adding more guns to school campuses as a way to reduce gun violence.
"We are parents. We are Republicans, Democrats and independents," the letter reads. "As a group, we do not oppose gun ownership. But, in many of our states, legislation has been introduced or passed that would allow gun possession on college campuses. We oppose such laws."
Concealed-carry laws on college campuses vary by state. Twenty-three states leave the decision to the schools, while 21 have outright campus bans of concealed weapons. State colleges and universities in Utah cannot institute such bans under state law.
In 2011, 18 states introduced bills to allow concealed carry weapons on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but Wisconsin and Mississippi were the only two states to enact such laws. In Mississippi, an exception allows people who have taken a voluntary safety course to carry on campus. In Wisconsin, concealed carry is allowed, but schools can bar guns from campus buildings if there are signs at every entrance explicitly saying so.
Mr. Obama didn't specifically address the issue of guns on college campuses during a speech in Minneapolis on Monday, but he did try to channel a bipartisan sentiment similar to the presidents'.
"We don't have to agree on everything to agree it's time to do something," he said. "The vast majority of Americans — including a majority of gun owners — support requiring criminal background checks for anyone trying to buy a gun."
But David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association, said universal background checks will never be effective because the laws would be ignored.
"While it sounds good, it doesn't work," he said. "Michigan, for example, has universal checks right now and they're widely ignored … when neighbors buy guns from neighbors and things of that sort."
Some gun rights groups, including the NRA, have called for increased armed security at schools to try to prevent mass shootings. Even Mr. Obama has called for increased funding for school resource officers, though localities would be able to use the money instead for security officers or school counselors. On Monday, he reiterated his support to make it easier for young people to get mental health treatment.
Mr. Obama also continued his push for the more politically tenuous bans on military-style, semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines. Regardless of the specific proposals, though, the administration clearly wants swift action as the Newtown incident drifts further into the past.
"If we refuse to act now, I don't know if we will ever act," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said at the news conference with college presidents. "Sometimes the time picks you; sometimes you pick the time. The time has picked us."
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Half can't name political party of their member of Congress, poll finds
- Mich. congressman returns Commerce award after group endorses opponent
- Rep. Henry Cuellar on border crisis: 'Playing defense on the one-yard line'
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez: Senate Dems wary of immigration politics
- Far out: Astronauts testify from International Space Station
Latest Blog Entries
- Dick Cheney: Hillary Clinton 'clearly bears responsibility' on Benghazi
- Holder vows to press ahead on gun control fight
- Seven of 10 prefer that Obama work with Congress, not go around it: Poll
- Schumer: Tea party hasn't let Obama put his policies into effect
- GOP official: Black not running for Wolf's House seat
TWT Video Picks
By Steve King
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- U.S. evacuates embassy in Libya amid violent clashes between militias
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama: U.S. should 'embrace an economic patriotism that says we rise or fall together'
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- EDITORIAL: Obama's 'economic patriotism' means higher taxes
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq