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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Annamarie Parker
Annamarie Parker
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I am an English, Writing major with a double minor in German and journalism. I'm also pursuing my TESOL certificate while working for Housing and Residence Life. I love to travel and meet new people.

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Law to let people bring guns on campus

A student sitting in class, looks to his right and sees another student raise his arm. The right side of the student’s shirt rides up, revealing part of his stomach and his .38 caliber handgun. Looking around, the student doesn’t notice anyone else appearing concerned.

By Michigan’s current state law, this could not legally happen. No citizen can carry a concealed weapon on college and university campuses or in dormitories. However, this law is in the process of being amended.

The law currently prohibits concealed weapons in schools, day-care facilities, sports arenas, bars, places of worship, college dorms and classrooms, hospitals and entertainment facilities that hold more than 2,500 people.

Michigan Senate bill 747, introduced by Sen. Randy Richardville on Aug. 19, would remove college and university campuses from that list. If the bill passes, licensed users will be able to carry concealed weapons, which are weapons that are not easily visible to others, on campus, including in classrooms.

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If the bill passes there will be no way to know everyone who not only has a license to carry, but is actually carrying a gun, which would complicate things for Public Safety.

“We are concerned about the effects this legislation will have on the safety and security of our campus community. If this legislation is enacted, it could create greater confusion when police respond to a school shooting,” said Jeff Mincheff, assistant director of police services.

According Mincheff, there won’t be much NMU can do if the bill passes and Public Safety would enforce the laws pertaining to the bill. But even if individuals are allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus, that won’t necessarily mean they will be allowed in the residence halls. Since living in the residence halls is such a unique situation, there are stricter policies set in place to make the experience more enjoyable for all – such as prohibiting even 21-year-old students from carrying alcohol.

Carl Holm, director of housing and residence life, says that he is not sure exactly what housing would do if the bill passes. They plan on speaking to an attorney.

For Michigan residents to obtain licenses to carry concealed weapons, they have to pass a pistol safety training course as well as extensive background checks. They also must be at least 21 years old, which would rule out the majority of on-campus residents.

Richardville introduced the bill to give individuals a means to protect themselves and attempt to minimize deaths in school shootings. Holm, however, feels this bill is not the correct solution.

“There have been some real tragedies, such as the situation at Virginia Tech, that could happen here any day. We need to be prepared. But allowing students, faculty and staff to carry guns is not the answer,” said Holm.

Others are worried that the regulations to obtain a license to carry are not enough. According to annual reports from the Michigan State Police, only 2.2 percent of applications in 2007-2008 to receive a concealed pistol license were denied, and only 1.2 percent were revoked.

Mitch Foster, junior and resident advisor in Gant hall, disagrees, stating that he feels the regulations are sufficient. He added that Michigan already has a large population of gun owners, many of whom currently have licenses to carry. According to the annual reports from the Michigan State Police, 26,578 concealed pistol licenses were issued in Michigan in 2007-2008. Foster will turn 21 at the end of the month, and he plans on applying for a concealed pistol license as soon as possible.

“The change in the law shouldn’t be a large deal but should be welcomed as a way to protect ourselves,” said Foster. “Columbine High School didn’t allow handguns on campus but it happened. Neither did Virginia Tech at the time … School shootings will happen no matter what law or regulation we put in place.”

Senior Nicci Quart, however, feels a license could land in the wrong hands.

“Even 21-year-olds without a criminal background could be out to get back at a teacher . if you are a senior and a teacher doesn’t give you a passing grade and you have to postpone graduation, a lot of people would want revenge,” Quart said.

Because the weapons could be concealed, there would be no way for students, staff or even Public Safety to know who was carrying a gun at any given time.

English professor Austin Hummell said that the people in favor of concealed weapons on campus are scared and want to be able to protect themselves, while the people opposed are afraid that it will increase the violence rather than subdue it. He thinks the best solution is to stop the use of guns for anything other than hunting.

“This is a bill about fear. People are scared with campus violence,” said Hummell. “Unless you’re killing something to eat, it’s time to put the guns down.”

The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Aug. 19, where it remains.

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