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Liberty University makes a change to its gun policy on campus

The school's new policy now allows students and staff to carry guns into many campus buildings.

April 03, 2013|Web staff

LYNCHBURG, Va. — While lawmakers continue the debate over gun control in Washington, one school in our region is making a clear statement on the issue.

Some people at Liberty University will get to carry guns to class if they want to.

The university's general counsel, David Corry, said that the policy isn't changing drastically, but the one very specific change will make a difference to those who chose to carry firearms, work here or call this campus home.

Josh Hetzler is a first year law student at Liberty University.  He helped draft the school's new gun carrying policy which now allows students and staff to carry guns into many campus buildings.

"The new policy is that they can carry in the buildings and in the classrooms but they must have a valid conceal carry permit recognized by Virginia and they must also have permission through LUPD," said Hetzler.

There are some special consisderations though.  Staff can enter any building including dormitories with concealed weapons.  Students can enter any buildings except dorms and their weapons must be secured in a locked vehicle.

"The university has felt that it's important as well as the student themselves have felt that it's important that they have their basic right to self defense.  We have 8-thousand around 8-thousand students that call this campus home they ought to be able to protect themselves where they live," said Hetzler.

Supporters of the policy, say it's about protection.

"It provides a little more protection and security in that if somebody was wanting to do us harm they'll have to take into account the fact that maybe there are people on our campus that are carrying concealed weapons," said David Corry.

Although other universities have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to guns, Liberty stands by its decision to protect its students, especially in light of recent nation-wide acts of violence.

"Students ought to have the ability to protect themselves we've seen a number of instances here in the nation recently were schools are particularly vulnerable. They're gun free zones except that the bad guys still get the guns," said Hetzler.

And that's a situation this campus community wants to be prepared for.

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Under the old university policy, students were only allowed to carry weapons on campus grounds and in their cars.

The university says broadening the policy adds another layer of protection and peace of mind to the campus community.

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