Students React to Campus Carry Bill

University of Nevada Reno

RENO, Nev. - A bill introduced into the Assembly Monday by Assemblywoman Michele Fiore (R-LV) , would change Nevada's gun law to allow people with concealed carry permits to carry guns on college and university campuses.

It's late afternoon, President's Day, at the University of Nevada campus, and a handful of students are walking around. Some heading to meet study groups, some are leaving the library, and others are just enjoying a day off of school. Looking at the picture, it's hard to imagine any crime happening on the campus.

Unfortunately, that's not the case. An assault early in February and a stabbing at White Pine Hall late last year, are just some of the crimes students who support Assemblywoman Fiore's bill point to as reasons why guns on campus is a good idea.

"I don't think our campus is safe enough," Chandler Wright, a sophomore, said. "We get these emails, and texts all the time about stuff that happens on campus."

Safety is why Fiore says she introduced the bill. She argues there's not enough security on our campuses. Especially at night when many students who have late classes must walk back to their cars or dorms.

She argues students should be able to protect themselves, and many students at UNR agree.

"I think it's important for people to protect themselves," Mike Glenn said.

Glenn, who is a freshman at UNR, says he does not have a CCW because he's too young. In Nevada, a person must be 21 or older to be eligible for a permit.

But that doesn't stop him from supporting the bill.

"I'd want somebody with a CCW to protect me on campus if something happened," he said.

Angie Haro, another freshman agrees.

"It's for their own safety, and if they're using it in the right way, there's no harm done," she said.

But opponents of the bill say they're worried about the time the gun is not used in the right way.

"I understand personal safety," Johnny Larkins said. "But the thing is, it's dark. Mistakes can be made. People can panic."

Larkins says people can think they are in danger when they really aren't. Making that mistake can result in accidentally shooting an innocent person.

Still others say if the person has a CCW, they know how to handle a gun.

"If you have a license, you're not going to use it the wrong way," Jenna Jacobs, a freshman, said.

"I know people have to go through training to get their CCW," Chris Carlson, a junior, said. "And usually those people use it for self-defense, and those are the people who will step up and take action against somebody who wants to harm others."

But the important distinction is having that license. Haro says she wouldn't support a bill that would allow just anyone to carry a gun. She says the training is important.

Still others say guns aren't necessary. There are plenty of security measures available like the Blue Light Emergency system which connects students with Campus Police. Campus Escort is also available to students who take late night classes.

Students are also able to carry tasers and pepper spray around to use in self-defense.

Opponents say they just don't trust other people with guns.

"I don't want to have to trust in people with guns in their coats," Zackary Edinger, a junior said. "I'd rather just trust the police rather than my fellow students."

The bill makes an exception for sporting events which seat a 1,000 or more people.

A similar bill was introduced into the state Senate in 2011. It passed there, but was not brought up for a vote in the Assembly.