Individual Rights or Safe Environment?

By: Laura Speakman
By: Laura Speakman

The right to bear arms versus a safe environment: Keezletown resident Dave Briggman has a license to carry a concealed weapon. This isn't a problem until he goes on the campus of JMU.

"In the back of my mind is always that possibility if stopped by a police officer, I'll be ejected from campus and/or have my weapon ceased, " said Dave Briggman.

JMU's policy states no person on their property can carry, maintain, or store a weapon. Fred Hilton, JMU's director of media relations, says the policy is in place for obvious reasons.

"It's a simple and an obvious one. It's to help us ensure that there is a safe and secure environment here for learning and for working," said Hilton.

But does this policy go against the state law?

"No where in the statute does it allow for the university to set its own rules as far as concealed weapons carried," said Rober Keefer, general practice attorney. Keefer says the state attorney general has ruled that areas allowing firearms are actually safer. He told us the only places where firearms cannot be carried are courthouses, houses of worship, places that have on site alcohol use, and K-12 schools.

And that's how Briggman hopes the court sees if the issue goes to trial.

"A firearm, no matter how you use it, is a tool. Um, nothing more," said Briggman.

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