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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  • by Stephen Location: Oxford, OH on Sep 26, 2007 at 07:02 PM
    JJ: if you want to help, wear an empty holster. Read up on the facts so when someone asks why you're doing so, you can tell them. Ask people why WKU students are allowed to carry in movie theaters, banks, etc. but not school? Join the facebook group and the event site. Get involved. Get political. If you have extra holsters, lend/donate them to those who don't have one.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 22, 2007 at 07:09 AM
    this is one of the worst ideas i've ever heard.
  • by E Location: Bowling Green on Sep 21, 2007 at 02:49 PM
    I am glad to see that someone is confronting this issue at WKU. If the Virginia Tech students were allowed to carry there's a distinct possibility that more lives could've been saved. This incident showed us that the police cannot protect you all the time. In fact, a court ruling has stated that government and police are not responsible for the protection of individuals. And really they cannot be expected to be responsible. Look at the numbers for the population of Bowling Green and the number of police officers that are on duty. Look at the numbers for WKU. Students vs. WKU police officers. There are not enough police officers to protect everyone. The responsibility of self protection falls to the individual. I strongly encourage anyone reading this to look up "The Parable of the Sheep," written by Charles Riggs. Gun Free Zones do not protect people. Did it protect VT, Columbine, or the Trolly Square Mall? No. At Trolly Square an armed citizen put an end to the killer, not a sign.
  • by Renee Location: WKU on Sep 21, 2007 at 12:10 PM
    I do not support this at all. The average person here at western would not be able to go through the emotional/psychological processes that occur when put under the amount of stress it would take to make you want to use a deadly weapon. Plus, most students wouldnt get the proper ID/registraion. They would carry the weapons anyway just because they think it is okay. If the school allows weapons on campus, I don't think I will be leaving my dorm at night anymore.
  • by Richard Location: Bowling Green on Sep 21, 2007 at 11:45 AM
    Allowing students, faculty or staff to carry concealed weapons on campus would be a huge mistake! Leave the possession and potential use of guns to the trained professionals. Just because you a permitted to carry a weapon, doesn't mean you have been trained in using it safely in a highly charged environment or that the carrier is governed by any conduct policy regarding the appropriateness of its use.
  • by John Location: Miami, FL on Sep 21, 2007 at 07:52 AM
    I went to WKU after I did my 6 years in the military as an 11B (Infantryman)and have had EXTENSIVE training on domestic and foreign weapons. I'm aware of numerious instances of veterans being enrolled at WKU. What about these soldiers? Do they not qualify as having the experience or training of how to properly handle a weapon and being in a stressful situation. If the WKU police department sets the standard for qualification, I would prefer just to go back to Iraq. I see it as if the state can trust giving a concealed carry license to a mature adult who MUST take proper courses to gain his license, then why can't WKU? If a student in Virginia had a concealed carry permit at the time the massacre was going on, what do you think would of happened? I guess what the question should be though, what's the worst that could of happened? The student with the permit neutralize the situation and avoid any more confrontation with the subject? More lives being saved?
  • by JJ Location: ROCKFIELD, KY on Sep 20, 2007 at 06:34 PM
    I totaly support this protest. If a student has the proper ID to carry a concealed weapon then he/she should also be able to carry on campus property too. Wake up people, it is called the right to protect yourself. It is not like just anyone can carry, there are procedures you must follow and if you qualify you can carry. The majority of people have a totaly wrong idea about people who carry a conceald weapon. If the students at Virgina Tech. had this right there would have been a lot less lost lives. I don't know who actualy reads this but if there is anyway I can support this cause I would be glad to help.
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