Lawton_The author of the House Bill to allow people to carry concealed weapons on Oklahoma College Campuses is not abandoning the effort, despite the Senate's decision to not hear the bill this week. Representative Jason Murphey of Guthrie says he will try to work the legislation into an existing bill. The bottom line is, Murphey wants state senators to vote on it - yes or no.
Administrators at Cameron University say Murphey's efforts are not a surprise, and police fought hard to make the bill disappear. But, gun rights advocates say they're not giving up. Ken Murphree sells guns, and he's also a police officer and concealed weapons instructor for Oklahoma. He says the gun safety and responsibility lies in the hands of the gun owner. "If we give permits to people to carry for self-defense and they can carry them in society wherever they want, we've trusted them to be responsible wherever they go," he says. "They're not going to be less responsible because they are on a school campus."
Cameron University President Dr. Cindy Ross joined other university presidents this week to plead with lawmakers to kill the bill. She says students have supported her efforts. "Our Student Government Association was the very first in the state to take a position on this," she says. "That position strongly opposed House Bill 2513. Similarly, our faculty senate was the first in the senate to oppose the bill."
Ross stands by her position that more guns on campuses is a bad idea - no matter who is carrying them. Last fall Ross encountered the potential problem guns on campus could cause. "We had a report that there was a student walking on campus with a gun," she says. "However, when it was investigated, the student was just carrying a prop for a theater production. "But, had that been viewed by someone with a concealed weapon, they could have decided to take action themselves and that would have been a terrible tragedy."
Murphree says those who carry concealed weapons don't behave the way Ross supposes, and he will not patronize a business if it doesn't allow guns. He says it's gun restrictions that cause problems. "We don't have those kinds of massive shootings anywhere in society other than places where firearms are restricted," he says.
When house members passed the bill a few weeks ago, it was their intention to only allow members of the military - active duty or retired - and those with law enforcement certificates, to carry guns on campus. But, Dr. Ross is opposed to that proposal as well. Murphree and Ross agree on that point, but it's because he wants all people with concealed carry licenses to be permitted to bring concealed weapons to universities.