GOP-led bill would allow guns on public university campuses

by Alex Kirkpatrick, Digital Editor

DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa lawmaker has proposed a bill that would allow weapons to be carried on campus at public universities and community colleges, a debate that has escalated since numerous school shootings, including those at Virginia Tech and Umpqua Community College.

The bill is necessary so students can protect themselves, state Sen. Jake Chapman, a Republican from Adel, told KCCI. Three public universities in Iowa prohibit weapons on campus. Chapman said gun-free zones are the most vulnerable places for most mass-casualty shootings.

He said his bill would allow anyone with a permit – students, faculty and staff – to carry a gun.

“All we are wanting to do is allow good, law-abiding citizens the right to protect themselves in these situations,” Chapman said.

Wisconsin, Alabama, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Oregon have similar laws. Iowa State University president Steven Leath said the data indicates that those laws have proven to be “relatively safe,” but he wants to look at the bill more closely before giving a public opinion.

The Iowa Board of Regents, which would make the final decision unless Chapman’s bill is enacted, released a statement in opposition to the proposition, saying that it “infringes on the statutory control of the Board of Regents.”

The legislation has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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