Survey about weapons on campus

Shaina James

As the final stage of a three- part project, faculty members were asked to participate in a survey compiling Northern’s opinion on allowing concealed weapons to be carried on campus.

Criminal justice majors were first given a survey and last year all NMU students were emailed and asked to fill out a survey telling their opinion of allowing students to carry guns on campus.

In February faculty members were asked to share their opinions on the matter. The same questions were asked in all three surveys.

“The survey asked if people had experience with guns and how confident they are in Public Safety,” said criminal justice professor, who helped conduct the survey, Greg Warchol. “It asked for their political views, if they were crime victims and other questions related to that.”

All participants remained anonymous and all though the faculty survey results are not in yet, the students’ results from the survey taken last year are.

There was a 40 percent response rate and a 45 to 50 percent response rate for faculty.

Thirty-eight percent of the students who responded to the survey say they own a firearm. Seventy-one percent of students said they thought an increase in firearm violence on campus would occur by allowing concealed weapons on campus.

“About two years ago there was the empty holster protest on campus and that is when we got the idea to study the views of concealed weapons on campus,” Warchol said.

According to the results from the student survey, the majority strongly opposed allowing weapons on campus, with only 28 percent in favor of concealed carry on campus.

Opposition was found strongest among liberal students.

“Students weren’t so much concerned about someone coming to shoot people,” Warchol said. “Students were more worried about accidents.”

Three percent of students say they have been involved in a firearm accident and 23 percent say they know someone involved in a firearm accident, according to the student survey results.

According to Warchol, after reading an article in The North Wind about the empty holster protest, he realized there was no research on the topic that states faculty and students opinion of people carrying weapons legally on campus.

“The survey won’t have any affect,” Warchol said. “We just wanted the basic opinion; it is an interesting topic.”

Forty-nine states allow concealed carry permits for citizens, but most universities do not allow people to have weapons on campus, according to Warchol.

At NMU, weapons must be registered and kept at Public Safety, which is open 24 hours, seven days a week.

About 270 million people privately own guns in the U.S. Every state but Illinois allows citizens to have a concealed firearms permit.

States that allow people to carry weapons legally often have restrictions on places where they are allowed, such as places of worship, government buildings, and schools.

Currently 15 states allow individuals with a concealed weapons permit to carry a concealed weapon on college or university property with consent of the institution according to Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.

According to Public Safety detective Vic LaDuke, if NMU’s policy on concealed weapons were to change, which ultimately the state would need to change their laws, Public Safety would adjust.

“If the university’s stance on concealed weapons on campus were to change, we would have to abide by the rule.”

Even with Public Safety patrolling campus constantly, 23 percent said they were not confident in Public Safety’s response time to a violent attack.