Ohio Lawmakers Approve Carrying of Concealed Weapons in College CampusesBy Julio Cachila, UniversityHerald Reporter
Following an incident that happened in Ohio State University less than two weeks ago, lawmakers in Ohio on Friday approved a bill that allows licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons on college campuses, news reports say.
The bill, which garnered massive support from state senators (22-8)and representatives (68-25), is now awaiting Governor John Kasich's signature, Reuters reported. If signed into law, the board of trustees at Ohio's public universities might allow concealed carry into all campuses.
The bill also removed a ban on carrying concealed weapons in public places such as daycare centers, airports, and private aircraft, Fox News reported. The bill, however, doesn't mean that all weapons will be always allowed carry; operators of such public places can still ban carrying weapons in premises.
The House of Representative also removed certain provisions from the bill late on Thursday. These provisions would have allowed licensed gun owners to carry concealed firearms into government buildings such as city halls and public libraries.
Law enforcement groups had mixed reactions to the bill. The Buckeye State Sheriffs' Association supported its passing, while the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association opposed it. Supporters say that it might prevent mass shootings and similar attacks from happening while critics say it might endanger the lives of students.
Columbus democratic state senator Charleta Tavares, who voted against the bill, said law enforcers "are going to deal with the real life consequences of the passing of this bill."
Columbus republican state Senator Bill Coley, on the other hand, said "There is no statistical evidence that this is not more safe" in response to Tavares' claim.
The bill was passed less than two weeks after 18-year-old Somali-born student Abdul Razak Ali Artan plowed into a crowd of students with a car inside the Ohio State University campus. He quickly jumped out of the car and stabbed 11 students with a knife. He was shot dead by a police officer.