Concord students protest campus carry bill

West Virginia News
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Monday, Concord University Students gathered at the West Virginia State Capitol to protest the controversial Campus Self Defense Act.

Early Monday morning, Concord University students piled into buses and headed toward the state capitol. 

Student body president, Haley Fields, said, “We thought that if we showed up today in large numbers, then our voices would really be heard.”

The Campus Self Defense Act, or HB 2519, would block colleges from prohibiting concealed carry, except in certain areas including stadiums, daycares, and campus law enforcement facilities. 

During a press conference after the protest, Concord University student, Matthew Thomas, said, “What happens when a depressed student with a gun can’t get the help that they so desperately need? We recognize that there is a security problem on college campuses, but we cannot expect the students to take care of that themselves.”

Mercer County Senator Chandler Swope represents the district where Concord is based. He said he is leaning in favor of the bill, but he does not think either outcome will have a major impact on campus safety. 

“The statistical reports I’ve seen on both sides of the issue don’t really prove one way or the other, whether campus carry is a risk or not,” said Swope. “I would probably vote for it simply because it’s a constitutional right and I wouldn’t want to restrict the locations of where they carry and where they don’t.”

The bill would also require colleges and universities to provide storage lockers for firearms and allow them to charge fees for storage. The statewide cost of the bill is estimated at $11.6 million.

Concord University students were joined by students from Fairmont State and Marshall University. Both Marshall and West Virginia University presidents have publicly spoken out against the bill.

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