Guns on campus law needs more thought, time

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 4, 2008

Sen. Hank Irwin, a Republican from Montevallo wants to try to push legislation that would allow certain students to bring guns to campuses.

Last year, this same piece of legislation died. But Irwin has come back this year an prefiled the bill for the session that begins in February.

Here are the rules: A person has to get a gun license, belong to an ROTC program and take a skills course.

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What the bill doesn&8217;t say is if the weapon could be a handgun or other type. It doesn&8217;t specify.

Already most state universities allow students in ROTC to have guns. That&8217;s reasonable.

We understand that some students might want to have weapons in their possession to go hunting during the season, which falls around this time of year.

But there are problems with Irwin&8217;s proposal.

First of all, the gun-toting law on campus doesn&8217;t provide enough details for anyone to make an informed decision.

Secondly, this is just a bad idea, especially in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting. Most readers will remember that day after a student with a history of mental illness shot and killed 32 people, wounded other and then killed himself.

Many parents send their children off to universities and colleges believing that their children are in a safe learning environment.

If college students want to hunt, that&8217;s a great activity for the weekends, and most students live close enough to home to get the gun and go into the woods without having to take weapons on campus.

The Legislature would do well to again deny Sen. Irwin his measure to allow firearms on campus.

In fact, Sen. Irwin would do well to heed the message sent him last session when the Legislature turned down this bill.