UA opposes bill that would allow for concealed carrying on campus

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The University of Alaska is opposing a bill introduced by a Fairbanks state senator. SB 174 would remove restrictions for the carrying of concealed firearms on college campuses. The bill received a vetting yesterday in by Senate Education committee.

Sen. Pete Kelly who introduced SB 174 (Photo by Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska)
Sen. Pete Kelly who introduced SB 174 (Photo by Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska)

State Senator Pete Kelly told the Alaska Senate Education committee yesterday that his SB 174 would remove a Constitutional wet-blanket that UA policy puts on students, faculty and staff to bear concealed fire arms on campus. Kelly reeled off a series of past shootings on campuses and suggested they might have ended without as much death if students and faculty were carrying a gun.

“Bad guys with guns are stopped by good guys with guns,” Kelly said. “And if the University has made it so all the good guys can’t have guns, they are then at mercy of bad guys with the gun.”

In response to questions from the committee Kelly wasn’t able to name any situations on UA campuses where having a concealed firearm would have helped a situation. And he conceded state law bars concealed handguns from legislative chambers. But he offered that situation could be remedied with future legislation.

The Education Committee also heard from UA President Jim Johnsen, who outlined five broad categories the school objected to the current bill. Johnsen says the University is like the courts, the legislature and K-12 schools, where concealed firearms are barred.

“Such places have been recognized by the Alaska legislature as sensitive places in which regulation of firearms is presumptively lawful.” said Johnsen.

Senator Kelly told the committee he thought the University had some good points and was willing to amend the bill to accommodate them. The hearing was limited to an hour so public testimony was truncated. More testimony is expected when the Education Committee takes up SB 174 Thursday at 3:30.