Even though the new state law has granted students who go to college and university to carry concealed weapons on campus, most schools in Ohio have been hesitant to conform to this law and therefore uphold their individual institutional policy of banning firearms inside school premises.
Regarding this, a gun rights advocate claims that this change will come about incrementally. So much so, he has asked a court to take measures against policies upheld by the Ohio State University limiting the possession of guns even inside locked vehicles.
This lawsuit was filed in Marion County by Mike Newbern, an Ohio State University student of the main campus as well as a former instructor at the Marion campus. Newbern holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and plans on taking graduate classes in the fall season at Marion campus. Despite having a concealed-carry license, Newbern claims that he is not allowed to possess a weapon while travelling to or from the campus.
“For me personally, living in Delaware, I’m disarmed when I’m traveling to and from Marion,” He also claimed that on keeping his gun inside his car, “I face potential expulsion and never being able to work in the university again.”
The suit contends that since the state law does not give state universities the right to ban the storage of weapons inside vehicles, the OSU has been unlawfully imposing such bans in three distinct avenues: student code of conduct; rules for employees; policies for recreational sports programs.
To this, the university remarked that it does not ban guns owned by employees and stored inside their vehicles and hence is in full conformity with the state law. The university tried to have Mike Newbern’s case dismissed however, the Marion County Common Pleas Judge, Jim Slagle thought otherwise. He ruled on May 5 that the case must proceed. The plaintiffs commencing action also included Students for Concealed Carry Foundation and, Ohioans for Concealed Carry.
Back in December, Governor John Kasich signed a law that lifted a longstanding statewide ban on concealed carry of weapons at colleges, airports and daycare centers. However, the law also provided sufficient leeway for college boards of trustees to decide whether or not to actually allow concealed carry inside institutional premises.
On December 5, lawmakers moved towards what some labelled as the “guns-everywhere bill” Soon after, a group of 15 gun-rights proponents walked through OSU’s campus openly carrying a variety of firearms claiming it to be a “No More Sitting Ducks” walk. They argued that the recent car-and-knife attack at the hands of a student named Abdul Razak Ali Artan who injured several people, demonstrates the need of the hour to allow lawful possessors to carry guns on campus.
Michael R. Moran, Newbern’s attorney, along with attorney Derek A. DeBrosse who is the filer of this case, remark that legal challenges similar to this one will keep rolling on for decades as part of the fallout from 2008 Heller’s case. In the Heller case, the Supreme Court of the U.S affirmed that the Second Amendment gives people the right to possess firearms irrespective of whether they serve in a militia or not. “It’s incremental and that’s how these rights are asserted,” Moran remarked.
Cedarville University in Greene County has become the first college in Ohio to have allowed concealed carry. This change will commence effective August 1 and full-time employees having a valid concealed carry license will be able to apply for obtaining a permit to carry on campus. The institute will work out an application process along with the required training necessary during the summers, said Janice Supplee, Vice President of Marketing and Communication at Cedarville.
After the new state law, Cedarville took its time to consider its decision regarding the issue of concealed carry. Therefore, the institute decided to conduct two surveys of the campus and town-hall meetings. “The survey results surprised me. Ninety-two percent were supportive of some type of concealed carry,” Supplee said. However, she also added that according to the surveys, students and visitors were voted against carrying concealed weapons.
In any case, Cedarville’s officials see this as an additional layer of protection for an already safe campus, according to Doug Chisholm, the institute’s head of private, armed security force. Permit holders will be stressed upon that they will not be a part of the response team at any cost. If any emergency were to arise, concealed carry permit holders must realize that if they spring to action standing there with a gun, they could be mistaken for perpetrators.
At Ohio State University, the student body and faculty members considered the institutional decision in January. They Faculty Senate voted against concealed carry. On the other hand, the Student Senate held a referendum so that all students could vote for or against concealed carry. Even though students from all five of the university’s regional campuses voted in favor of concealed carry, the much larger Athens campus and its student population decided otherwise and swayed the overall vote against concealed carry at 65 percent. Therefore, the university’s board of trustees have taken no action, leaving the institute’s gun-ban in place.