Open carry on campus: A life threatening topic

Tea’ Claus
Staff Writer

While Campus Safety is permitted to carry non-lethal firearms, the debate for students to carry hand held weapons is a controversial topic.

The topic of open and concealed carry on college campuses is becoming more relevant as tragic mass shootings continue to take place across the country.

“We do not permit any carrying of firearms or weapons on this campus. It’s not only our college policy, but it’s also a New York state law. New York law prohibits the carrying of firearms on our campuses or high school campuses unless you have permission to do so for official business. For example, public safety or police,” said director of public safety Fred Aliberti.

According to Abby Jackson and Skye Gould of Business Insider, there are 10 states that currently allow concealed carry on school campuses, including Oregon, Texas, Utah and Mississippi. There are an additional 16 states that have introduced bills to potentially expand campus carry laws.

Public safety officers are allowed to carry tasers and pepper spray with them, but they are not allowed to carry firearms.
Aliberti highlights the potential incident that could occur if students were allowed to carry firearms.

Aliberti said, “If you have open carry and someone has a simple disagreement over whatever. For example, we had a disagreement earlier this year where a student got upset and threw a cup of coffee at someone. And so now, let’s say the student had a gun, got upset at this person and decides to shoot them over this simple dispute.”

“I would be concerned that some simple incident could escalate to a more serious incident. We would certainly need to be careful with that,” continued Aliberti.

Logan Hicks, a digital media student, is strongly against open carry on campus. “I don’t think it’s appropriate because of recent shootings and tragic accidents related to guns in schools,” said Hicks.

“I think that guns could be a grey area. [Regarding] knives, I feel that you can have them [on your person]. Guns, maybe leave them in the car if you need to bring them with you,” said business administration student Riley Shannon.

Aliberti said he doesn’t think there will be a need to allow guns or other weapons on campus anytime soon.

“In our part of the country, especially in New York State, we have appropriate controls as to who can carry firearms. People have to obtain permits to carry handguns. Obviously, hunters will buy longarms to go hunting and practice target shooting, but they also have to pass a background check. That’s a good balance of laws,” said Aliberti.

Justin Burke, a criminal justice student, believes the inclusion of weapons on campus could pose potential issues.
Business administration student Kyle MacMillian believes carriers could cause life threatening problems on campus if open carry took effect.

Adam Scott, a mechanical engineering technologies student, doesn’t think there is any real reason to carry a firearm on campus at Hudson Valley. He believes that there are other methods to defuse dangerous situations.

William Newsom, a criminal justice major, said increasing security on campus with more public safety officers could help keep students safe without the use of weapons on campus.

Aliberti said there are procedures in place that keep students safe on campus. “I think, in general, just basic day-to-day safety procedures and practices are the best way to do it. Walk with friends, don’t walk alone at night. If you’re concerned about safety, for example, you can call our office here and we’ll escort you to your car or to the bus stop. Take advantage of all safety precautions.”

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