Some WKU Students to Protest Gun Policy

By: Tamara Evans Email
By: Tamara Evans Email

It clearly states in Westerns student handbook and online that guns are not allowed at Western Kentucky University.

After the Virginia Tech shootings on April 16, 2007, an online group was started nationwide to encourage students to protest this policy at their schools.

Now some WKU students plan to do just that.

"It's called the empty holster protest," WKU student Nathan Hayes said.

Hayes is encouraging a protest by WKU students and faculty.

"In support for allowing concealed carry on campus. That is, individuals who are licensed to carry a concealed deadly weapon, to be allowed to do so on campus," Hayes said.

He saw information about this protest online shortly after the Virgina Tech shootings.

"I've always felt strongly about it. That was the straw though that broke the camel's back," Hayes assured.

Now the group called "Student's for Concealed Carry on Campus" is reaching WKU.

"It's concealed carry. The idea is nobody would know you're carrying," Hayes explained.

School officials say protesting by these students will not trigger a change in the school's current gun policy.

"Western's policy is very clear. You cannot carry a weapon on campus or in any of our buildings," said WKU's Vice-President of Student Affairs.

WKU official, Dr. Gene Tice, said following the Virginia Tech shootings a number of changes were suggested for Western to help make it safer. It did not include guns.

"We have never discussed nor have we ever considered anyone carrying weapons on campus. Only our police officers are authorized to carry weapons and we're very firm about that," Dr. Tice said.

He added that he worries students having guns would actually be more dangerous than safer.

"My concern would be the person would not have that kind of training in a highly charged emotional situation the way our police would," Dr. Tice said.

Meanwhile, Nathan Hayes says it's what this issue boils down to--safety. Which he says is why he's protesting to allow guns on campus.

"Would I feel safer? Yes. The key here is would I be safer. I would be safer because I would have a way of defending myself," Hayes admitted.

Hayes said so far there are several students who plan to protest on campus the week of October 22 by wearing an empty holster.

He added that he's also informed the Bowling Green Police Department and WKU to let them know it would be going on.

Meanwhile, school officials say they will be keeping an eye on any student planning to protest to make sure their holsters are empty.


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