MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia Citizen’s Defense League is tuning the opposition out on the controversial campus carry bill making it’s way through the House of Delegates.
“The doom and gloom, blood running through the streets fantasy that they concoct in opposition to people exercising their ability to defend themselves never come true,” Keith Morgan said Wednesday on “Talkline” with Hoppy Kercheval. “It just doesn’t happen.”
WVU Police Chief Bob Roberts testified last week to the House Education Committee that out of 160 campus shootings, only one had ever been stopped by a civilian with a firearm.
“And that guy was a marine,” Roberts concluded.
Morgan, the President of WVCDL, said the stances taken by legislators from counties with college campuses are out-of-touch with reality.
“The defense of your life is the absolute baseline for all liberties,” he said. “If you can’t control whether you live or die, you certainly have no other liberty.”
Delegates from Monongalia County and representatives from West Virginia University — including long-time campus police chief Bob Roberts — announced their opposition to House Bill 4298, which would stop the Higher Education Policy Commission from enacting policies limiting citizens from exercising concealed carry of firearms on public college campuses.
“We need to give students — and particularly young women — the ability to defend themselves in an environment that, frankly, the universities are just flat out stating is dangerous,” Morgan said.
In his ten years running WVCDL, Morgan said he’s received significant support from students, faculty, and other college staffers for campus carry legalization. He couldn’t name an exact figure, but said it’s “not a small number.”
“We’re talking a sizable number of folks, and those folks tell me that they’re not alone,” he said. “They truly are afraid of speaking out.”
WVU Police Chief Bob Roberts testified to the House Education Committee last week that WVU’s three most common criminal activities include theft, vandalism, and simple assault. He also said additional firearms would only worsen outcomes related to those types of crimes.
Morgan characterized the issue and the arguments from opposition in higher education differently during his interview Wednesday.
“‘The students are too sexually aggressive, drunken, drug-addled,'” he said, describing how he views the opposition’s reasoning.
“I’m thinking of all the places where someone might need to defend themselves, there you have all the conditions that would certainly make me nervous.”
In fact, Morgan claims WVU is doing more to argue for campus carry than anyone else.
“What’s interesting is I think the strongest argument for the exercise of suitable self-defense on campus is exactly the University’s argument against it,” Morgan said.
House Bill 4298 does provide exceptions, including at the WVU Coliseum and Mountaineer Field. However, WVU officials pointed out that campus carry would allow concealed carry holders to maintain firearms at two other popular venues — Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium and Monongalia County Ballpark.
Delegates from Monongalia and Marion counties — home of WVU and Fairmont State University respectively — already announced their opposition.
H.B. 4298 is currently in the House Judiciary Committee.