Student group lobbies for concealed firearms on campus

By on November 4, 2014

A recent spike in crime has prompted some students to seek to change U of L’s deadly weapons policy. Currently, U of L specifically prohibits possession of deadly weapons, even for those with licensed for concealed carry. Only police officers and ROTC students are exempt form this policy.

Ilya Chernyavskiy, a doctoral student in the School of Medicine, founded Kentucky Cards for Concealed Carry on Campus (KC4) to change this policy.

“We are starting an RSO that is a chapter of a national student organization, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, that was started at Virginia Tech in 2007. UK and EKU already have chapters,” Chernyavskiy, the president of the group, said.

According to their website, the national organization was founded in response to the Virginia Tech shooting, which took place in April 2007. It currently includes 350 established chapters.

“Primarily also we are educating students what their rights are, what they can and cannot do according to university policy, what is and is not legal. We also want to iScreen Shot 2014-10-31 at 2.11.01 PMnform those who choose not to or who cannot carry how they can stay safe in areas around campus where crime has been happening … A lot of students are surprised to learn that there are no legal reprecussions for possessing a concealed carry weapon on campus,” he said.

Kentucky law allows the University of Louisville to enact policy to control deadly weapons on campus. Students who are found in violation of this policy may be expelled. Faculty and staff may be fired. Others will be asked to remove either themselves or their weapon from the premises.

“I think people who are not able to legally carry firearms (such as those who are under age 21), they can also benefit from being in this group, because of our efforts to get information out there about campus safety, and also knowledge and familiarity with firearms kind of take the mystery out of it, and ensure that what they do with it is within the bounds of the law,” KC4 member and history major Pani Muzquiz said.

“Imagine someone in possession of a firearm, probably not legally if they are a criminal. And this person decides, ‘I’m gonna commit a crime today.’ They take this gun, and they walk up to the SAC door, and they see that sign on the door that says ‘No firearms allowed.’ What are the realistic chances that that person is going to say, ‘Oh, it’s a gun-free zone. I guess I can’t rob this place today.’? The only thing a gun-free zone does is take the ability away of a law-abiding citizen like me to defend myself.” Muzquiz said.

Chernyavskiy reports that the group already has more than 20 members, and received 60 signatures, “mostly from freshmen,” on a petition asking for U of L’s deadly weapons policy to be changed to allow students to take advantage of concealed carry.

When asked about the implications of the anti-deadly weapons policy, Chernyavskiy said, sarcastically: “There is also a no-smoking policy on campus. We see the widespread success of this policy.”

In order to gain recognized status as a student group at the university, KC4 needs two more student board members and an adviser.

“We are fortunate to live in a free society that allows people to advocate for what they believe would be best for our Commonwealth and University.  It is positive when students associate around ideas and then try to inform others,” said Dean of Students Michael Mardis.

U of L’s full deadly weapons policy can be found here.

 

About Simon Isham

Simon Isham is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Louisville Cardinal, where he has worked since 2012. For his reporting at the Cardinal, he has won awards from the Kentucky Press Association and the Louisville chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has also written for LEO Weekly and Insider Louisville. He graduated in December 2014.

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