CHARLESTON, W.Va. — There’s at least one more day to debate the merits of the Campus Self-Defense Act in the House of Delegates.
The Campus Self-Defense Act, known colloquially as the Campus Carry Bill, was moved to third reading on Wednesday, Crossover Day, with 16 amendments pending and the possibility of more on the way.
The bill would permit, with some exceptions, students to carry concealed firearms on college campuses in West Virginia.
WVU Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Rob Alsop clarified the school’s position on H.B. 2519 — saying the school believes local control on these issues should remain in the hands of the Board of Governors.
“We’ve been told from both the House and the Senate and both sides of the aisle that there is a significant amount of support for this legislation and were encouraged to state those concerns so that we could get as many exemptions in sensitive areas as protected as we could,” Alsop said Tuesday on MetroNews “Talkline” with Hoppy Kercheval.
Alsop said it made practical sense for WVU officials to work with legislators to craft a final version of the bill to protect ‘sensitive areas’ of the campus.
“We could get a really bad bill that we would think would not be safe,” Alsop said. “By the same token, if we support the exemptions that are in the legislation moving forward, then we’ve got a better chance of protecting our campus.”
As it stands now, though still subject to change, exemptions in the bill would maintain current practice of not permitting firearms in athletic venues with more than 1,000 people, campus daycare centers, sole occupancy offices, mental-health and patient-care counseling areas, high-hazardous and animal laboratories, and dormitory rooms.
“A number of the exemptions that are in the legislation wouldn’t be there if we were unwilling to sit down and talk with folks,” Alsop said.
“Our efforts have been aimed, from day one, on what is that we can do as a university to make sure our students, our faculty, and our staff feel safe?” That’s really been our focal point.”
Opposition to the bill has erupted in the form of protests both at West Virginia University’s main campus and in some cases at the Capitol.