Most speakers opposed to campus carry at public hearing

Most speakers opposed to campus carry at public hearing

Gun Rights

A public hearing about a campus carry bill was held Monday at the state Capitol. (WV Legislative Photography/Perry Bennett). CHARLESTON — During a public hearing Monday afternoon, most speakers, including police officers and higher education officials, said they opposed a campus carry bill lawmakers are currently considering. Gun rights activists, including several members of the West Virginia Citizens Defense League, a representative of the National Rifle Association and some individuals spoke in favor of House Bill 2519 , which would allow those with valid licenses to concealed carry on campus. Opponents outnumbered proponents by about a three-to-one ratio. Several speakers worried about the prevalence of mental health problems on college campuses, as well as experimentation with drugs and alcohol. "We know that suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people and the majority, 80 percent of these young people, kill themselves with a gun," said Sarah Beasley, dean of students at Concord University. "Suicide is often an impulsive decision. Easy access to guns will likely result in more attempts and more attempts being successful." Several proponents said that students could use guns for protection. "According to a campus sexual assault study, one in five female college students is sexually assaulted," said Art Thomm, of the National Rifle Association. "There’s clearly a reason for women who have valid state-issued permits to do so on college campus." According to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center , self-defense gun use is rare and not more effective at preventing injury […]

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