Liberty University to allow carrying guns on campus

Liberty University has lifted the ban of firearms on campus.


Billy Hathorn [Creative Commons]

Katie Nelson, Writer

Liberty University issues a new policy that allows people 21 years or older to carry firearms on campus. | Billy Hathorn [Creative Commons]

Liberty University’s board of trustees recently decided to allow visitors, as well as students and faculty 21 years or older, to carry concealed firearms on campus. A statement posted on Liberty’s campus police website explained that the school decided to lift the ban on firearms in light of 27 other schools’ decisions to allow concealed weapons.

“The new policy creates exceptions for university visitors with valid concealed weapons permits to come on campus with their weapons,” the statement read. “The policy is designed so persons with concealed weapons permits can carry them concealed on campus as they would off campus and keep their weapons in their locked cars while visiting campus without violating university policy.”

Some Biola students looking to change weapons policy

Currently, Biola does not allow weapons on campus. There are some students though, like first-year Talbot student Matthew Kirby, who are looking to change that, in spite of the strict California firearm license laws. Kirby is the California representative for Students for Concealed Carry, a group whose goal is to gain legal concealed carry on all college campuses. Kirby began working with the organization at his alma mater, Louisiana Tech University.

“People who are already licensed to carry should be able to carry on college campuses if they can carry other places, because there’s no imaginary line that they cross when they step on the campus that makes them irresponsible or not able to carry safely and responsibly like they do everywhere else,” he said.

Kirby views the ability to carry as a preventative measure against mass shootings or other attacks.

“I think self-defense is unfortunately something that we have to contend with if we’re honest about the state of affairs in the world,” he said. “There’s sin, there’s evil people out there who don’t care about gun-free zones — they don’t care about people’s lives.”

Guns on campus may lead to gun-pulling

Despite the work some people like Kirby are putting in to ensure that California allows concealed carry on campuses, Biola political science professor Scott Waller is not convinced the ban will be repealed.

“Well, given the gun control laws out here in California … I would say that just the average citizen being able to get a legal weapons permit out here in California is more difficult than some of these other states,” he said.

Waller also addressed Liberty’s decision to actively allow guns on campus, giving another perspective on the school’s precautionary measure.

“The other view is if you start allowing more firearms on campus, you open up the possibility of more and more people having gun-pulling on campuses because they’re in a fight with their roommate or they are disgruntled with the university in some way,” he said.

No current plans to change policy

So far, no plans have been made to change Biola’s gun policy. However, other adjustments have been made to Biola’s active shooter plan, according to Campus Safety chief John Ojeisekhoba.

“We will also be offering individual departments in-house visits to conduct a practical assessment and recommended course of action for key staff,” he said in an email, explaining that over the past two years, 10 departments have received these visits.

Besides the departmental evaluations, Campus Safety also distributed emergency plans specifically tailored to each dorm and is planning a training session for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in August.

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