Pro-gun advocates from the Virginia Citizens Defense League are planning to speak at several universities next month to promote the legal carrying of concealed weapons on campus, according to the organization’s website. Campuses they plan to visit include James Madison University, Virginia Tech and Radford University.
VCDL is a non-profit, grassroots organization that was formed in Northern Virginia in October 1994. The organization encourages our constitutional right to bear arms, as stated in the Second Amendment.
Their campaign, Operation Campus Safety, will discourage the banning of firearms in places such as parks, public businesses and college campuses.
While a ban is intended to promote safety among the students and faculty, VCDL believes that any citizen with a license to carry a concealed weapon should be allowed to exercise their right to defend themselves anywhere.
According to a press release from VCDL President Philip Van Cleave, the plans for the campaign are to target campus funds. The statement encourages alumni, parents and students to refuse any donations to a campus that does not allow concealed carry on premises.
“When a university or college asks for money, tell them: No guns? No funds!” Van Cleave said.
Van Cleave used the April 16 Virginia Tech shootings as an example, faulting the campus gun bans for leaving the victims unprotected.
“Just one armed permit holder in one of those classrooms under attack at Virginia Tech on that fateful day in 2007 could have stopped Cho,” he said.
VCDL will advocate at Virginia Tech on Nov. 17. The group is hosted by Libertarians at Virginia Tech and the event will take place from 11:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. This is before the last home football game of the season for the Hokies, so advocates will present to both students and visitors in town for the game.
Reaction from Radford University students has been mixed. Many students feel negatively about the idea, saying that the dangers of guns on campus far outweigh any positives that are proposed.
Student Kimberly Gerard immediately shook her head when she heard the idea.
“People are just too irresponsible,” she said.
Elizabeth Dreher believes that local violence is already out of control.
“Two people were jumped outside of Madison [Hall] at 3 in the morning,” Dreher said. “If people were allowed to carry guns, it would just make things worse.”
“It’s too easy to lose your temper,” Laura Strickland said in agreement. “We don’t want too many people out there with guns. It just creates too much opportunity.”
A few students did acknowledge the positive side of carrying concealed weapons, within legal reasoning.
“If someone is able to go through the legal system to carry a concealed weapon, then they are responsible enough to carry it,” said Evan Walters.
Another student who wishes to remain anonymous agreed with the proposal, claiming his Constitutional rights. “You should be able to carry them anywhere!” he said.
Many of these students have a strong belief about this issue, but there are a few who are still on the fence.
Radford University has not yet scheduled an event for VCDL. According to the press release, campus visits will be announced on VA ALERT one week prior to the event.