Ohio Takes Baby Steps To Protect Students As Kasich Signs Campus Carry Into Law

Gun free zones attract criminals like flames attract moths.  Time and again we have seen people led like lambs to the slaughter, unable to defend themselves because of some asinine notion that a sign that says “No Guns Allowed” will do ANYTHING but stop law abiding citizens from protecting themselves.

Gun Free Zones don’t apply to criminals.  If they are on the prowl to commit nefarious acts then why wouldn’t they follow the path of least resistance.  Gun free zones are in truth, criminal protection zones and a college campus that is a GFZ is no different.

A terrorist intent on doing harm to the student body on campus doesn’t even NEED a gun to inflict damage so long as no other students are armed to stop him.  One need look only at the recent terrorist attack in Columbus Ohio at Ohio State University’s Main Campus.

From a Foxnews report:

A Somali-born student at Ohio State University injured 11 people, one of them critically, on Monday when he attacked a crowd of pedestrians on campus in an incident one lawmaker said “bears all the hallmarks of a terror attack.”

Authorities said Abdul Razak Ali Artan, 18, plowed a small gray Honda into the crowd outside Watts Hall, an engineering classroom building, just before 10 a.m. ET. Artan then got out of the vehicle and attacked people with a butcher knife before he was shot and killed by a campus police officer.

The officer, identified as Alan Horujko, 28, happened to be in the area because of a reported gas leak.

It was only by pure luck that Officer Horujko was in the area checking on a reported gas leak or else Abdul Razak Ali Artan could have hurt and possibly killed a LOT more people.  A guy swerving around in his car trying to kill you and then coming at you with a butchers knife is not so easy to defend against if you are denied the great equalizer of a firearm.  It’s how Officer Horujko dealt with this terrorist attack but a person who is otherwise allowed to have a firearm should not be denied that right and have to hope that happenstance ensures an officer is around to save them.

Fortunately, the powers that be in Ohio have agreed and moved quickly to ensure that if a future terrorist attack happens on a campus in Ohio that the law abiding citizens and students who have a firearm will not be denied its use to protect themselves and the community.

From Bullets First Contributer Dean Weingarten:

On Monday, 19 December, 2016, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed SB 199, a gun law reform bill.  SB 199 does away with gun free zones at airports outside the secure area, school “zones” away from actual school property, and some public buildings. It allows schools of higher education more leeway in setting their own policies. From toledoblade.com:

Senate Bill 199 would lift the state’s current ban on carrying concealed firearms in day-care centers, airport terminals, school safety zones, and certain government buildings and would give public colleges and universities the authority to allow weapons on campus.SB 199 passed the legislature 68-25 in the House and 22-8 in the Senate, both with veto proof majorities. The bill started as a bill to allow active duty military to carry in the same places as those allowed to concealed carry permit holders. It was combined with a bill to make it legal to carry concealed in areas where open carriers were already allowed.

The bill gained momentum form the car and knife attack at Ohio State University on 28 November, 2016.  The officer who stopped the attack, Alan Horujko, is reported to be a competitive shooter.  From cincinnati.com:

Horujko, who listed himself as a “competitive shotgun shooter,” trained to be a police officer at the Delaware Area Career Center. He worked as a security guard and then as an officer for OhioHealth hospitals in Columbus.The attack has been claimed by ISIS and brought increased calls for campus carry reform.

The move to allow colleges and universities to decide whether or not to allow carry on campus seems like a reform. I doubt that it will have any real impact. I have read of only one institution of higher education that voluntarily allowed campus carry. That is Liberty University in Virginia. As a private institution it is not constrained by Virginia law. I do not recall a public university or college that has voluntarily decided to allow concealed carry.

There are significant other provisions in the bill. The bill, as passed, is 66 pages long. It can be read here as Am. Sub. S. B. No. 199 As Passed by the House in pdf format.  Here are some of the other provisions,

  • Institutions of higher learning are made immune from liability from actions of legal concealed carriers. The immunity also applies if they decide to allow people with concealed carry permits to carry on campus.
  • Active duty military are allowed to carry the same as people with concealed carry permits, if they show that they have undergone training similar to that required by the Ohio concealed carry law.
  • Private or public entities may not prevent people with concealed carry permits from keeping firearms locked in private vehicles in a closed, locked, compartment.
  • Immunity from liability for firearms kept in private vehicles is included in the bill, including immunity from actions cause by the theft of such firearms.

SB 199 will go into effect in 90 days.  By my count, that will be the 9th of February, 2017.

Personally I think this is a step in the right direction but alas it doesn’t quite go far enough.  The removal of liability on behalf of the Universities for the actions of gun carriers on campus is a big step in mitigating one of the big arguments that Universities have with allowing firearms on campus.  I would have made the provision a double edged sword though, freeing Universities from liability if they allow campus carry but holding those Universities that specifically PROHIBIT campus carry financially responsible for any criminal action (such as the recent terrorist attack on OSU’s campus) that happens while on their campus.

If they are going to deny people their God given right to keep and bear arms in order to defend themselves then the Universities should be held responsible when tragedy is invited into their school and no law abiding citizen is there to stop it.

Forcing Private institutions to allow campus carry is probably a bridge too far at the moment but the aforementioned liability will have them rethinking their policy.  Public schools on the other hand are publicly funded and operated by state entities.  As such there is NO problem in mandating that they allow campus carry at their Universities.  I would have liked to see SB 199 take a more firm stance on this.

Because when the moment strikes, I would rather have my firearm at my hip rather than in my car.

And I do not trust the overwhelmingly liberal and anti gun intelligentsia of academia to do the right thing and allow their students the right to keep and bear arms while on campus.

Do not take my words for a bunch of doomsaying though.

I think this is a great step in the right direction for the journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step.  I just wish it had gone further but now that it is in place, improving upon such action will be easier.

At the end of the day “Run, Hide, Fight” is the wrong message because it leaves fighting as your last resort because you have been denied any reasonable ability to defend yourself.  You can imagine what stance Bullets First take with this.  As a student at the University of Pittsburgh I carried concealed.  There is no law in Pennsylvania preventing it and I was not going to get killed by following some idiotic anti gun policy that the school kept.  Running and hiding is fine if that is what you personally choose to do.  But what happens when you can’t run fast enough…or they find you were you hid?

Giving them your bullets first at 1,126 feet per second kind of negates the need to run or hide.

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