Guns not welcome on SIU campus

By Arnold Wyrick - bio | email

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - The Illinois legislature is once again taking up the issue of allowing people to legally carry concealed weapons.

The Illinois Legislation, House Bill 148, would allow people who met the requirements and complete the training to carry concealed weapons, even on college campuses.

That's something that Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard says he is concerned about.

"Our first priority is the safety of our students," said President Poshard.  "And we want to do whatever we can to keep our kids as safe as we can. We have some real concerns about students having guns on campus."

The measure does come with some exemptions, such as no one would be allowed to carry a gun into campus buildings. police or sheriff's offices, jails and prisons, courthouses, government meetings, bars, secure areas at airports, schools, child care facilities, casinos and horse tracks, amusement parks, sports stadiums and arenas and churches.

But, President Poshard says he doesn't want guns on his campus at all.

"We just basically felt like university campuses as a whole should have an exemption from this concealed carry measure. Because you're dealing with young people, young people who can sometimes be volatile."

And some students at SIU also say they wouldn't feel safe if people were allowed to carry concealed guns on campus.

"I think that until now the Southern Illinois University campus is a pretty safe campus. And I think if everybody is allowed to have a gun and have a permit for a gun then it might not be as safe as it is now," said Kaoutar Elmounaei.

"My opinion it's kind of dangerous, I'm against it because of the simple fact that everyone thinks differently about guns, eventually there's going to be more violence," said Michael Thornton.

"And with the things that happened at Northern Illinois University and Virginia tech that's the last thing people need. It might slow down enrollment, and it's just not safe so why even put people in that situation."

Not everyone is against the conceal and carry legislation.  The National Rifle Association and the State Rifle Association support the bill.

If the measure does pass the Illinois General Assembly it would make the state the 49th in the nation to make it legal for people to carry a concealed weapon.

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