VIENNA, W.Va. (WTAP) - Update: 2/12/2019
Image Source: Lucio Eastman / CC BY 2.0 / Pixabay / MGN
Local universities are keeping a close eye on the progress of a bill in the West Virginia Legislature, allowing people with concealed carry permits to carry weapons on campus.
Ohio Valley University is a gun-free campus, and also a private institution.
The House bill would allow concealed carry for state institutions of higher learning.
But OVU Chief of Staff Charles Morris says the school would want to get input from the college community before implementing a concealed carry policy of its own.
"I think what we would want to be concerned about, is what is the overall well-being of our campus, based on the input from, particularly law enforcement officials," Morris said Tuesday. "Since it's become a legal issue with legislation, we'd want our attorneys involved. and be considerate about what our students would want on our campus."
Morris says OVU has its own security staff, and Vienna Police are available to respond to incidents on campus, if necessary.
West Virginia lawmakers have heard public comments on legislation that would require colleges to allow people who have concealed weapons permits to carry weapons on campuses.
The House judiciary committee held a public hearing on the bill Monday.
Concord Police Officer David Eldridge said his department would have to hire 13 additional officers and purchase multiple metal detectors if the bill passes. It would cost the department $726,000 in the first year.
West Virginia University education professor Sara Anderson said concealed weapons on campus would "bring intimidation into the classroom."
National Rifle Association lobbyist Art Thomm said the bill empowers people to protect themselves. He says "denying women their right to self-protection leaves them vulnerable to attack."
Among the bill's exceptions includes daycare centers, campus police headquarters and events in sports arenas with more than 1,500 seats.
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