Students concerned over open carry gun walk

By on March 31, 2017

By Shelby Brown–

Two dozen gun advocates – some students – walked the perimeter of Belknap campus March 31. U of L student and organizer Aaron Spalding considered the highly criticized open carry firearm education walk a success.

“I’m not advocating to carry an AR-15 into a classroom. It’s to advocate licensed concealed carry holders to be able to protect themselves on campus,” Spalding said.

Spalding cited off-campus crime, lack of ULPD “manpower” and faulty emergency systems as reasons he wants to change university gun policy. While walking openly with weapons, the group advocates for campus concealed carry, which is not allowed.

“I think students should take a more active role in their own self defense,” Spalding said.

Some students did not agree with the sentiments of the walk. Conversations began on the sidewalks and social media.

Marty Mohr thought the group’s guns served more for intimidation purposes.

“It was clearly an effort to … put themselves in a dominant position,” Mohr said. “I think if they wanted a mature and adult conversation about gun ownership, they didn’t need to show up with their guns. The only difference between a good guy with a gun and a bad guy with a gun is a bad day.”

Haeli Spears supports the second amendment right but disagrees with the walk’s timing.

“I think it’s really insensitive to the mass shootings that have happened on college campuses,” Spears said.

Spalding said the walk received backlash after U of L student Savannah Walker died in a shooting at the Tim Faulkner Gallery. Spalding said the open carry walk was scheduled before the gallery shooting.

“Other than her being a student, there’s really no connection between our walk and that,” Spalding said. “I don’t feel it’s respectful for me to drag her death into it.”

Student organizer Ilya Chernyavskiy said students are left “defenseless by the university policy” against events like the gallery shooting.

U of L’s Early Learning Campus emailed parents that children would be kept inside during the walk.

“While the event is expected to be peaceful, we will be limiting our use of outdoor spaces that day to ensure the safety of all of our children,” Professor Brian Weinberg said in the email.

The Faculty Senate Executive Committee issued a statement supporting the University’s Deadly Weapons-Destructive Devices Policy. The policy does not allow deadly weapons on properties owned, leased, operated or controlled by U of L. The committee also expressed support of prohibiting possession of weapons on school properties.

“As faculty, we have primary responsibility for the education of the students at the University of Louisville, and we firmly believe that ensuring a safe, weapons-free campus is an essential foundation to the mission of providing an excellent educational experience,” the statement said. 

Photo by Dustin Massengill/ The Louisville Cardinal

About Shelby Brown

3 Comments

  1. todd brimm

    March 31, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Responsibility, not Rights, the Real Issue with Owning and Carrying a Firearm
    The Second Amendment is what is it, the right to own a firearm. As a military officer and retired law enforcement supervisor and trainer, I appreciate all of our Constitutional Rights. However, the University is absolutely right in restricting firearms on campus. One argument by “gun rights” advocates is the ability to quickly respond to a threat. Anytime a firearm is introduced into an environment with multiple people it immediately becomes a high-risk situation. Basic military marksmanship training or going to a shooting range with your friends, and definitely not a one day carrying-concealed class watching videos, equips a person to respond to a high-stress situation without putting others around them in a high-risk situation. Your first responsibility with a firearm is making sure you can use it if placed in a high-risk situation without hurting or killing someone else, something that happens almost 100,000 times each year, and that takes more time and money than most are willing to spend.
    Another issue with gun ownership is simply people do not maintain control of them. As a former LMPD supervisor, my division, one of eight, had about 50 stolen firearms from unlocked vehicles every year; Louisville is definitely doing its part in the 600,000 firearms stolen each year in America. Our homicides, often committed by people under 21 or criminals who cannot purchase a firearm legally, have no problem getting access to firearms because the gun-owning public is hemorrhaging “stolen firearms” into our community. What makes matters worse, often times, gun-owners do not know or cannot find the serial number to their stolen firearm which is why 70% of firearms used to murder police are either stolen or unknown origin.
    The fact is, a large number of people want to demand rights, but very few people are willing demanding personal responsibility to adequately carry or even own a firearm. Until that time comes, the University is should not even table the question on whether or not firearms should be permitted on campus.

    • Ilya Chernyavskiy

      April 2, 2017 at 1:22 pm

      Wouldn’t mandating students and faculty leave their guns in their car make it MORE likely guns will be stolen?

  2. sam

    April 18, 2017 at 2:33 am

    So wait… mr. Chernyavskiy wants guns INSIDE the classroom all day…yeah that would make me a nervous wreck at school!no thanks.I do not want to be setting in class with mates carrying guns.no way!

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