Some students at the University of Cincinnati are taking issue with concealed-carry-firearm restrictions on campus.
A recently created student group, Bearcats for Concealed Carry, focuses on “restoring the right to lawfully carry a concealed handgun on Ohio’s college campuses,” said Landon Gray, a fourth-year history student and group member.
Bearcats for Concealed Carry is in the process of becoming an official student group recognized by the university, and plans on urging state legislators to roll back weapons restrictions at universities.
Ohio became one of 49 states to allow concealed carry in April 2004.
Ohio’s concealed carry laws require training and a background check when applying for a permit.
The cited intent of the law is to recognize the “inalienable and fundamental right of an individual to defend the individual’s person and the members of the individual’s family.”
In Ohio, 2012 was a record year for the number of permits issued. County sheriffs issued 64,650 new licenses and 12,160 renewal licenses, according to a report issued by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Hamilton County issued the fifth-highest number of permits in Ohio counties.
“This large number is probably due to improving laws, a threatening political climate and general acceptance of concealed carry as a sensible safety measure,” said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association.
Most states have restrictions where a concealed weapon can be carried.
In Ohio, a permit holder cannot carry a concealed weapon in places of worship, courthouses, police offices, educational institutions or any business prohibiting carry.
Bearcats for Concealed Carry wants to change the laws limiting where a firearm can be carried, but not everyone at UC supports the group’s cause.
“Personally, I don’t feel that license holders have any reason to abuse the law and come onto campus to express violation of the Ohio Revised Code,” said Patrick Gauding, College Democrats of Ohio communications director.
Six other states are currently considering legislation allowing licensed carriers to be armed on campuses. Currently, Mississippi, Wisconsin and Colorado are the only states that allow some form of concealed carry on campuses.