Open carry firearm walk planned for Friday

By on March 28, 2017
The Louisville Cardinal News

By Shelby Brown–

Gun advocates will carry firearms around campus March 31 to start a conversation about concealed carry. Participants will assemble at 11 a.m. at Third Street and Cardinal Boulevard before walking the border of campus.

Participants will range from being unarmed to having a long gun slung over their shoulder. Event organizer Jeffry Smith said all weapons will be “holstered or carried in a safe manner.”

“We are not demonstrators, just gun owners looking to help educate folks,” U of L student Ilya Chernyavskiy, who will walk with an AR-15 rifle, said.

Student sponsor Aaron Spalding said while the group will be carrying firearms openly during the walk, conversation is the goal.

“We’re open carrying as a catalyst to start conversation,” Spalding said, adding they’re pushing for concealed carry. “We’re not going to approach anybody that doesn’t want to talk … If anyone wants to come up, that’s great.”

Concealed weapons are not allowed on U of L’s campus. Students caught with a weapon are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion.

“Concealed carry should be allowed on campus because prohibiting it treats honest citizens differently for no reason and because doing so makes campuses and their surroundings easy targets for criminals. Criminals don’t follow laws or policy. Feelings should not trump the right to self-defense,” Chernyavskiy said.

While the event is organized and sponsored by students, the U of L Students for Concealed Carry is not affiliated.

“SCC does not officially support or oppose open carry of firearms, or this event,” the SCC’s statement said March 13. “However, anyone is free to watch or participate in this walk. Several of our members will be in the walk, but not as members of SCC, just as students and gun owners.”

Spalding, a member of SCC, said the group could not reach an unanimous stance on open carry.

Discussion on the event page raised concerns about the recent shooting at the Tim Faulkner Art Gallery that left one student, Savannah Walker, dead. Sarah Lynn Cunningham said having an open carry firearm walk so soon after the shooting is “selfish and insensitive.”

Spalding says he is willing to meet with students or faculty if they are “triggered” by guns.

“If they want to talk or meet without a gun to voice their concerns, we can do that. I want to make improvements about how we can communicate,” Spalding said.

The group has provided their route and walking times for those who wish to avoid them. Information is also available on their public Facebook page.






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