Organization wants to repeal gun ban

Students argued that repealing the campus ban on weapons will help decrease crime.

by Kevin Behr

One organization hopes to curb crime in the University area by allowing students to carry firearms on campus.

Andrew Rothman, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Defensive Firearm Instructors, manned an information booth in Coffman Union on Wednesday, talking to passing students about Minnesota’s gun laws.

In July 2003, two months after Minnesota passed a law allowing properly trained adults 21 and older to apply for a permit to carry a firearm, the University Board of Regents adopted a policy prohibiting firearms from anywhere on campus besides parking lots. The state conceal-and-carry law allows such a restriction at colleges.

At Coffman Union, Rothman urged students to sign a petition asking the Board of Regents to repeal the policy.

“(The Regents) are endangering campus and students by not allowing firearms,” he said.

Political science junior Bethany Dorobiala, College Republicans chairwoman, said Rothman approached her about setting up the booth.

“I think it’s really important for students on campus to know the law,” she said. “We want to lift the ban (on carrying firearms) on campus.”

Allowing concealed weapons on campus is a terrible idea, architecture junior Andrew Brackett said.

“More firearms create more opportunities for violence to occur,” he said.

Psychology senior Holly Sawchuk shared Brackett’s sentiments.

“I don’t think there’s a reason to (carry guns),” she said.

But Rothman said the regents’ prohibition is dangerous and unconstitutional.

Rothman said he was looking to collect as many signatures as possible at the booth between 10 a.m. and noon. By the end of the day, he said, he had collected 28 signatures.

“We had a lot of good conversations with a lot of good ideas shared,” he said.

Philosophy and theater sophomore Murray Parent said he signed the petition because he usually walks home from work late at night and would feel safer if he could carry a gun through campus. He said he supports the University’s decision to ban guns in buildings.

“Guns aren’t magic things. There are malfunctions and there can be problems,” Parent said.

Tim Gilmore, a mass communications junior, said no one can ever be completely safe – even with a gun.

“If someone wants to carry a gun, they’ll carry one,” he said.