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Pro-gun effort at Okla. colleges fizzles

Oklahoma City_After strong protests, Oklahoma Senate leaders decided Monday to shelve a bill to allow military veterans and others with firearms training to carry concealed weapons on college campuses.

Sen. Mike Johnson, a Republican, said he and Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield, a Democrat, made a joint decision to leave the bill off the agenda of the committee that would debate the measure.

According to Crutchfield, he and Johnson "couldn't agree" to hear the bill.

"The bottom line is the bill will not be considered this session," he said.

University presidents, faculty members and students had loudly opposed the measure, which sponsors said would improve campus security. Educators said it would have the opposite effect.

University of Oklahoma President David Boren had argued the bill would hurt recruitment of students and faculty. It also would pose a dilemma for police trying to determine whether a person wielding a weapon was a "deranged gunman or someone who thinks he is doing good vigilante work."

Rep. Jason Murphey, a Republican, had introduced the campus gun bill. He said college officials used fear tactics against his measure, and he disputed their claim that it would have increased security problems.

Murphey and others argued that properly trained people with concealed handguns could avert deadly episodes like one last year that left 33 dead, counting the shooter, at Virginia Tech.

"If we can't trust our veterans, who can we trust?" he asked.

Ron Jenkins, AP Writer © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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