News

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Press Releases (2013)
July 15, 2013 - Statement on Zimmerman Verdict
 
Press Releases (2012)
December 12, 2012 -  Michigan Governor vetoes bill that would have allowed guns on college campuses and other public places
 
July 19, 2012 - Guns on Campus Bills Fail in 12 States in 2012 - Biggest Defeats Include Arizona, Georgia and Kansas

April 19, 2012 - Three fourths of Michigan voters oppose concealed handguns in day care centers, university dorms and hospitals
 
February 14, 2012 -  Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus Issues Statement on 4th Anniversary of Northern Illinois University Shooting

 
Press Releases (2011)
 
7.21.11 Guns on Campus Legislation Fails in Vast Majority of States in 2011 – Biggest Defeats Include Arizona, Louisiana and Texas
 
6.17.11 Mothers of Virginia Tech & Northern Illinois University Shooting Massacres Call on Wisconsin Assembly & Governor Walker to Stop 'Guns in Public Places' (including college campuses) bill
 
Press Releases (2010)
 
10/27/10 Gun Violence Prevention Organizations Release 2010 State & Federal Candidate Endorsements in New York

 
6/28/10 U.S. Supreme Court Decides in McDonald v. City of Chicago that 2nd Amendment Applies to States
 
6/26/10 Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus Praises University of Colorado Board of Regents for Standing up to Gun Lobby and Appealing Gun Ban Case to State Supreme Court
 
6/10/10 Arizona Community Colleges and Hawaii's Entire University System Join Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus
 
(4/15/10) Statement by Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus on Third Anniversary of Virginia Tech Shooting Tragedy
 

 
(2/15/10) Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus Statement: University of Alabama-Huntsville Shooting
 

 
(1/5/10) Gun Lobby's Radical Agenda Fails, Again: Attempts to Force Loaded Guns on College Campuses Hits Wall of Opposition in 2009
 
Bills Fail In Michigan and 11 Other States in 2009. Colorado State University Bans Guns On Campus In December; Momentum Builds To Protect Universities and Student Safety From Being Hijacked By Gun Lobby
 

Press Releases (2009)
Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus Issues Statement on Colorado State University Banning Guns on Campus
Contacts:  Andy Pelosi, andy@gunfreekids.org
 
 NEW YORK, Dec. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Colorado State University's Board of Governors voted unanimously today to ban all firearms - concealed or not - on its campuses at Ft Collins and Pueblo. Colorado State was the only college in the state to allow concealed weapons on campus until today's landmark decision.
Andy Pelosi, the Director of the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus said: "We applaud the decision by Colorado State University to ban firearms on campus. Today's decision puts Colorado State in line with other colleges in Colorado and nearly every major college nationwide.
"College campuses are among the safest environments for students - much safer than the communities that surround them. This is due in no small part to the fact that nearly all colleges and universities have adopted policies that severely restrict or prohibit firearms. We want to keep it that way."
Said John Johnson, outreach coordinator for the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, "It takes courage to stand up to the gun lobby. But Americans support courage."
The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, is urging colleges and universities across the country to band together to oppose the gun lobby's agenda to push guns onto college campuses. Since the Campaign was launched just one year ago, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and more than 90 colleges and universities in 24 states have signed onto a resolution opposing legislation that would take away an educational institution's right to prohibit or adopt policies to regulate possession of firearms on campus.
View list here
The Colorado State decision comes at a time when America's colleges and universities are under attack from the gun lobby. Utah is the only state that prohibits its public colleges and universities from banning guns on campuses. Over the last two years, guns on campus bills similar to the Utah law have been introduced in at least 18 states.
 

 
Violence Policy Center
1730 Rhode Island Ave., NW, Suite 1014
Washington, DC  20036
 
For Immediate Release:  Tuesday, November 17, 2009
 
Contacts:  Mandy Wimmer, Violence Policy Center, 202-822-8200 x110, mwimmer@vpc.org; Scott Vogel, Freedom States Alliance, 312-243-8980, scott@freedomstatesalliance.org
 
Concealed Handgun Permit Holders Have Killed 8 Law Enforcement Officers, 77 Private Citizens Over Two and a Half Year Period According to New On-Line Resource That Tallies News Reports of CCW Killings
 
Michigan Concealed Handgun Permit Holders Committed 7 Homicides In 3 Incidents; Advocates Say Permit Holders Should Not Be Allowed to Carry Loaded Handguns Onto College Campuses
 
Washington, DC--Concealed handgun permit holders killed eight law enforcement officers and 77 private citizens (including 10 shooters who killed themselves after an attack) during the period May 2007 through October 2009 according to a new Violence Policy Center (VPC) on-line resource that tallies news reports of such killings.  The web site, CCW Killers, is located at http://www.vpc.org/ccwkillers.htm and is updated monthly to include new fatal shootings and changes in the legal status of concealed handgun permit holders facing criminal charges.  (Any concealed handgun permit holders who are eventually acquitted of their alleged crimes are not included in the tallies maintained on the site although the facts surrounding the shooting are detailed.)
 
In Michigan, concealed handgun permit holders killed seven people in three separate incidents.  Gun violence prevention advocates state that such homicides by permit holders are proof that the gun lobby's radical agenda to expand the carrying of concealed handguns onto college campuses should be rejected.  For example, on July 21, 2009, Kevin Hoover, 23, allegedly shot his father-in-law, Andre Settler, 43, at Hoover's backyard birthday party after both men were drinking.  During an argument, Settler struck his son-in-law.  Hoover reacted and allegedly shot Settler with the 45 caliber handgun he had been carrying on his hip all day.  (See http://www.vpc.org/fact_sht/ccwtotalkilled.pdf for detailed descriptions of the incidents.)
 
“This national study, and certainly these homicides in Michigan, shows precisely why allowing the carrying of loaded handguns in public, especially on our college campuses, is dangerous and completely irresponsible,” said Andy Pelosi, director of the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus.  Yet the gun lobby is working to force public colleges and universities into permitting students to carry concealed and loaded handguns onto campuses despite strong objections by campus security officials, administrators, professors, and even students themselves. 
 
“Do Michigan lawmakers honestly want to expand the state's concealed weapons law when this study found that concealed handgun permit holders killed eight law enforcement officers and murdered at least 77 private citizens?  Lawmakers should think twice before putting college students at such risks,” said Scott Vogel, communications director for Freedom States Alliance, a national organization that supports grassroots organizations and advocates working to prevent gun violence, which assisted in releasing today's study.
 
The new VPC web site offers detailed descriptions of the 46 incidents, which occurred in 18 states.  Of these incidents, 10 were murder-suicides involving firearms and eight were mass shootings (three or more victims) that claimed as many as 11 lives at a time.  Law enforcement officers were killed in Florida (two incidents), Idaho, Ohio, and Pennsylvania (two incidents).  All of the law enforcement killings were committed with guns.
 
Private citizens were killed in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida (nine incidents), Idaho (two incidents), Kentucky, Michigan (three incidents), New York, North Carolina (two incidents), Ohio (three incidents), Oklahoma (two incidents), Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina (two incidents), Tennessee (five incidents), Texas, Utah (two incidents), and Virginia (three incidents).  All but one of the killings were committed with guns.
 
Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center, states, "This new web site makes clear that contrary to the false promises of the gun lobby the simple and deadly fact is that state concealed handgun systems are arming cop-killers, mass shooters, and other murderers."
 
Because most state systems that allow the carrying of concealed handguns in public by private citizens release little data about crimes committed by permit holders, the VPC reviews and tallies concealed handgun permit holder killings as reported by news outlets.  It is likely that the actual number of fatal criminal incidents involving concealed handgun permit holders is far higher.
 
***
 
The Violence Policy Center (www.vpc.org) is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury.
 
The Freedom States Alliance (www.freedomstatesalliance.org) is a national organization that supports grassroots organizations and advocates working to reduce and prevent gun violence. 
 
The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus is a project of Gun Free Kids (www.gunfreekids.org), which works to protect families and children from gun violence. 
 
--END--
 

 

 
For Immediate Release
Monday, October 19, 2009

Contacts:
Andy Pelosi, Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus and GunFreeKids.org, 914-629-6726
Peter Hamm, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, 202-898-0792
IN MICHIGAN, GUN EXTREMISTS
PUSHING BILL TO FORCE COLLEGES
TO ALLOW GUNS IN THE CLASSROOM

Lansing, MI - A state House Committee says it will hold a hearing tomorrow morning on a dangerous measure that would force all public colleges and universities in Michigan to allow many students 21 and over to carry loaded, hidden handguns into college classrooms. Similar bills have been killed 34 times in 22 states in the past two years.

The bill that will be considered by the House Committee on Tourism, Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resources, HB 5474, was introduced by Traverse City Republican House member Wayne Schmidt.  The bill, if passed, would prohibit any institution of higher education from enforcing any ordinance or regulation on “possession of pistols or other firearms, ammunition for pistols or other firearms, or components of pistols or other firearms, except as otherwise provided by federal law or a law of this state.”

“America’s college campuses are among the safest environments for students because they do not permit guns on their premises,” said Andy Pelosi, president of GunFreeKids.org and head of The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus. “We need to keep guns off college campuses, not bring in more guns.”

“We need to do more to make it harder for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons,” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “Michigan should reject this bill, just as all other states have done.”

Similar bills have been categorically rejected, over and over, for the past two and a half years since the Virginia Tech tragedy where a student brought guns into classrooms and murdered 32 students and teachers.  All told, 34 independent efforts by the National Rifle Association and Students for Concealed Carry on Campus to pass guns-on-campus bills in 22 different states have failed miserably, with even ultra-conservative state legislative leaders who have been longtime reliable allies of the NRA opposing the idea. The broad opposition to such bills included students and universities who felt under attack.  The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, which is organizing a national coalition of universities and colleges to reject the gun lobby’s agenda, lists support from 90 schools in 23 states and counting.  (See list of colleges:)

The following states have rejected bills in 2009, 2008 or 2007 to force colleges and universities to allow students to carry concealed firearms into classrooms: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

http://www.studentsforgunfreeschools.org
www.gunfreekids.org
www.bradycampaign.org
###

 
For Immediate Release
Gun Lobby Fails To Force Hidden and Loaded Guns On College Campuses In Texas As Legislative Session Ends 
Campaign To Keep Guns Off Campus Shows Strong Momentum As Over 90 Universities Oppose Gun Lobby’s Radical Agenda
(Austin, TX, June 2, 2009) – The legislative session in Texas ended without enacting a dangerous bill that would have forced the carrying of hidden and loaded guns at universities and colleges. Students and gun violence prevention advocates were ecstatic for the initial victory and that college campuses would remain safe from the gun lobby’s threats. But advocates cautioned that the gun lobby would not stop pushing its deadly legislation and called on lawmakers to protect universities from being run over by the NRA’s radical agenda.
“Although the gun lobby claims it has a monopoly over states like Texas when it comes to guns, clearly House Representatives did not think that arming college students and professors was a priority. Thankfully this bill did not pass, which would have put students’ lives at greater risk,” said Andy Pelosi, Director of the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus.
Five Texas universities joined the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus including Texas University of the Incarnate Word, LeTourneau University, Quinn College, Southwestern University and Texas College.
The Campaign is organizing universities to sign resolutions opposing hidden and loaded guns on college campuses. As of June 2nd, 92 colleges in 23 states have joined the Campaign.
John Woods, a student at Virginia Tech whose girlfriend was killed during the shooting tragedy and now a graduate student at the University of Texas, said, “By pushing this dangerous legislation, the gun lobby effectively created a backlash from college students as well as from thoughtful conservatives and moderates. Texas had a handful of gun violence prevention advocates; now it has a lot more who are willing to fight to keep guns off of college campuses.”
"In just this year alone, Texas is the 10th state to say no to the gun lobby on this dangerous legislation. Our elected officials heard a tremendous outcry against the legislation from school administrators, students, advocates, parents as well as campus law enforcement officials. Lawmakers listened and did the right thing by not enacting this dangerous bill," said Marsha McCartney, President of the North Texas Brady Campaign.
-- END--

 
 
Statement of The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus after Louisiana House of Representatives Overwhelming Rejects Gun Lobby’s Move to Arm Students
 

 
For Immediate Release                                                                     
 
CROTON FALLS, NY, May 29th – Andy Pelosi, executive director of GunFreeKids.org and head of the Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus issued the following statement after yesterday's 86-18 vote onHB 27 by the Louisiana House of Representatives that would have allowed hidden and loaded handguns on campus.
 We thank the members of the Louisiana House of Representatives for agreeing with law enforcement, college administration officials and students that guns have no place on college campuses. Yesterday’s resounding vote for public safety over the interests of the gun lobby should send an important message to those who think that arming students is a good policy. As of today, Louisiana joins nine other states that have rejected guns on campus legislation, including Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia.
# # #
 
The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus is a national project of GunFreeKids.org and currently includes 90 colleges and universities from 23 states. For more information, please visit www.gunfreekids.org/campaigns and to see the list of schools: http://tiny.cc/vekPP
 

 
Louisiana Colleges and Universities Oppose Gun Lobby’s Agenda to Push Guns Onto College Campuses
 
For Immediate Release                                                                  
CROTON FALLS, NY, May 21st – Seven Louisiana state universities have signed resolutions opposing legislation to permit the carrying of loaded guns on college campuses: Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, NcNeese State University, Nicholls State University, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, University of Louisiana-Monroe, and Southern University A&M College.
According to the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, 88 colleges and universities in 23 states have signed resolutions to keep university and college campuses safe by opposing efforts to arm students. 
(To see the list of colleges visit http://tiny.cc/9ZR0s – or visit the campaign www.gunfreekids.org\campaigns).
During the current legislative season, bills to permit guns on campus have been introduced in at least 12 states, including Louisiana. The Louisiana bill (HB 27) would allow students, professors and staff who have concealed weapons licenses to carry hidden and loaded handguns onto campuses, classrooms, sporting events, and permit students to keep guns in their dorm rooms.
College and university administrators and campus law enforcement officers oppose arming students and feel that campus safety should be left to trained security professionals. Permitting deadly firearms on college campuses will weaken safety and put students’ lives at greater risk of violence. 
“America’s college campuses are among the safest environments for students because they do not permit guns on their premises,” said Andy Pelosi, president of GunFreeKids.org, which launched the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus last December. “If the gun lobby’s dangerous agenda succeeds, our universities will become less safe and prone to more violence. And if lawmakers truly believe in creating a safe learning environment for students, they will oppose the gun lobby’s extremist legislation.” 
“The gun lobby is using the Virginia Tech shooting as cover for their real agenda which is to push guns into every nick and cranny of our society, including our schools,” said John Johnson, outreach coordinator for the Campaign. “The gun lobby’s efforts are not about safety, but simply an extension of their radical agenda, and it needs to be stopped.” 
The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus urges Louisiana lawmakers to listen to college administrators, campus law enforcement professionals, students and parents on this important issue and oppose legislation to force guns onto college campuses. 
 
# # #
 
 
May 20, 2009
Texas Senators Who Voted to Force Hidden and Loaded Guns Onto College Campuses Put Students’ Lives at Greater Risk of Gun Violence
Gun Lobby’s Dangerous Legislation Now Moves to House; Advocates Call for Leadership and Serious Efforts to Keep Guns Off Campus
(Austin, TX, May 20, 2009) – Today the Texas state senate passed dangerous legislation that would force the carrying of hidden and concealed guns at public universities and colleges. The measure now heads to the House where college students and gun violence prevention advocates are calling for leadership to prevent the bill’s passage. The bill threatens the safety of students, professors, and staff and increases the risks of gun violence on college campuses by making weapons more readily available.
John Woods, a student at Virginia Tech whose girlfriend was killed during the shooting and now a graduate student at the University of Texas, called the proposed Texas legislation an “insult” to the victims and survivors. “The fact that the state senate refused to accept an amendment keeping guns out of campus bars and hospitals shows that this bill is ideologically motivated and has little to do with student safety and campus security.”
"The majority of Texas senators have chosen to ignore the fact that Texas college administrators, campus law enforcement, parents and students have asked them not to pass this dangerous legislation. Doing the bidding of the gun lobby is more important to these senators than the safety of our colleges," said Marsha McCartney, President of the Texas Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Most troubling is that Texas state law prohibits university administrators, educators and campus law enforcement officials from lobbying the state legislature. These institutions are “gagged” from speaking out about this dangerous legislation that directly affects their security and safety.
Gun proponents continue to say that prohibitions against carrying guns on campuses violates their Second Amendment rights. But even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in the Heller case that stripped D.C. of its handgun ban, stated conclusively: “Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.”
“This issue goes well beyond Texas, and represents the encroachment of the gun lobby’s radical agenda into dictating the safety of higher education in America. I think parents, students, and universities need to realize that their communities and colleges are at risk of being run over by the gun lobby,” said Andy Pelosi, who heads the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus.

The Campaign is organizing universities to fight the gun lobby’s agenda. To date, 88 colleges and universities in 23 states have joined the Campaign.

Click here to see a complete list of universities who have signed resolutions opposing guns on campus.
 
 

 
May 7, 2009

A Wesleyan University Middletown, CT female student was shot and killed at a university bookstore where she worked on Wednesday, May 6. The victim, Johanna Justin-Jinich (21) was shot multiple times. A semiautomatic handgun was recovered at the scene, Broad Street Books, located near the Wesleyan campus. It has been reported that the alleged gunman, who was not a student at Wesleyan, had a connection with the victim and had made previous threats against her.
The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus released the following statement in connection with this shooting.
We offer our sympathy to the family and friends of Johnanna Justin-Jinich, and the Wesleyan University community. Sadly, this incident reminds us that we are all at risk of gun violence, even in what should be safe environments such as a university book store. All too often, this is the result when guns are introduced into a confrontational situation.” 
Although the victim was a Wesleyan University student, this shooting is technically not a “school shooting” in that the bookstore where the shooting occurred is located two blocks from the main campus. According to a U.S. Justice Department study, 93 percent of violence against college students occurs off campus.
In the universe of gun violence, college campuses are among the safest environments for students – much safer than the communities that surround them. This is due in no small part to the fact that nearly all colleges and universities have adopted policies that severely restrict or prohibit firearms.

The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus is working to keep it that way. The answer to gun violence is not more guns.

 
 

 
Missouri College Students, University Administrators, and Advocates Urge State Lawmakers to ‘Keep Guns Off College Campuses’
 
PRESS RELEASE
(Jefferson City, MO, April 29, 2009) – Student leaders from the University of Missouri, along with college administrators, gun violence prevention advocates, and state lawmakers joined together to oppose HB 668, a bill that would force concealed and loaded guns onto college and university campuses.
The gun lobby’s dangerous legislation would completely strip the right and ability of Missouri’s higher education system from deciding for itself how to protect the safety and security of its students, faculty and staff. Student leaders and university administrators lashed out at such an audacious power grab by the gun lobby to weaken safety at Missouri’s public colleges and universities.
“I am strongly against any legislation that would allow concealed weapons to be carried onto college campuses,” said Sen. Jeff Smith (D-4). “College is wonderful but it doesn’t come without stress, anxiety, and uncertainty. Combining these volatile emotions, binge drinking, and guns will not have positive results. Over 40% of all college students are binge drinkers according to Department of Health and Human Services, and bringing guns into this tumultuous campus culture will only increase the already high number of alcohol-related injuries and deaths. Further, this will detract from an atmosphere that promotes a free exchange of ideas and opinions. Intellectual debate may be stifled if students fear their classmates are carrying weapons. This misguided proposal will hamper the social, intellectual, and emotional development of Missouri’s college students, and potentially endanger their welfare.”
The gun lobby has yet to pass legislation to force “Guns on Campus” in any state. State legislation has failed in all nineteen states where it has been introduced. Most recently, a handful of NRA-endorsed and “A-rated” Senators voted against North Dakota’s “Guns on Campus” bill sending it to defeat. Tremendous pressure from students, advocates and university officials have caused ardent gun lobby supporters to reconsider their positions on these bills.
 The flawed notion that college students could carry a loaded and concealed gun into a classroom is a chilling prospect that our student body vehemently opposes, and it’s time our voices are heard on this matter,” said Brian Roach, a member of the University of Missouri Student Senate. “Students deserve a safe learning environment. Permitting armed students into a unique campus environment would break that fundamental promise of safety.”
Colin Goddard, a student who was shot four times during the Virginia Tech tragedy, called the proposed Missouri legislation a “fantasy borne out of watching too many movies.” Goddard continued: “The fact that the Missouri gun lobby looks at the horror of the Virginia Tech tragedy as an opportunity to push its deadly agenda is completely unsettling to those of us who were shot and wounded. It represents a lack of serious thought about what happens in this kind of situation. I lived through that nightmare, and I can tell you more guns would have made matters worse, not better. I would work toward removing the two guns that were there, in the hands of the shooter, instead of putting five more in the hands of students. This proposal is reckless, and won’t reduce gun violence.”
Presidents and administrators of the University of Missouri System strongly oppose legislation to permit students to carry guns on campus such as Columbia University of Missouri, Kansas City University of Missouri, St. Louis University of Missouri, the University of Missouri of Science and Technology (at Rolla), as well as Missouri Southern State University.
Nationally, the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus is organizing colleges and universities to band together to fight the gun lobby’s agenda. The Campaign has 80 colleges and universities in 21 states that have signed resolutions calling on lawmakers to prohibit the carrying of firearms on college campuses.
“The gun lobby does not make idle threats. American’s colleges and universities cannot afford to stand on the sidelines on this issue, said John Johnson, outreach coordinator for the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus. “College and university administrators must become active in their state legislatures if they want to keep their right to maintain gun-free campuses.”

 

April 16, 2009
For Immediate Release                           Contact: Andy Pelosi, andy@gunfreekids.org

                                             
On Anniversary of Virginia Tech Tragedy, University Students, Faculty and Advocates Rally at State Capitol to Tell Texas State Lawmakers:
‘Keep Hidden and Loaded Guns Off Our College Campuses’
 
Public University Officials “Gagged” From Speaking Out; Parents Threaten Boycott of Texas Public Universities if Legislation Passes

(Austin, TX, April 16th, 2009) – On the second anniversary of the Virginia Tech tragedy, university students, faculty, gun violence survivors, and advocates rallied at the state capitol in Austin, Texas to send a clear message to lawmakers: “keep hidden and loaded guns off our college campuses.”  The shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, the deadliest shooting in American history, killed 32 students and professors, and wounded 17 others.  The tragedy is being exploited by the gun lobby in Texas and other states to push its dangerous agenda to expand the carrying of concealed guns onto college campuses. 
Most troubling, however, is that state law prohibits university administrators, educators and campus law enforcement officials from lobbying the state legislature.  These institutions are being “gagged” from speaking out about this dangerous legislation that directly affects their security and safety.  The current legislation, House Bill 1893 and Senate Bill 1164, exempts private universities, but strips the right of public colleges and universities in Texas from prohibiting deadly guns on campuses. Utah is the only state that forbids its public universities and colleges from restricting students with gun permits to carry firearms on campuses.  Last year similar legislation was defeated in each of the 17 states where it was introduced. 
John Woods, a student at Virginia Tech whose girlfriend was killed during the shooting and now a graduate student at the University of Texas, called the proposed Texas legislation an “insult” to the victims and survivors.  “The fact that the Texas gun lobby looks at the horror of the Virginia Tech tragedy as an opportunity to push its deadly agenda is utterly disgusting and reprehensible to those of us who lost loved ones in this tragedy, and to those who survived as well.”
“The gun lobby is trying to hijack higher education in Texas, and across the country, to force public universities, against their will, to permit armed students to carry hidden guns in college classrooms.  This is one of the most dangerous legislative agendas we have ever seen, and it needs to be stopped in its tracks,” said Andy Pelosi who heads the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus and is the Executive Director of GunFreeKids.org. 
H. Scott Caven Jr., the immediate past chairman of The University of Texas System Board of Regents, expressed concern over legislative proposals that would take away a public university system's authority to determine its own weapons policies.  "Our public universities should decide for themselves the best way to protect our students and faculty,” Caven said.  "The UT System Police Academy trains its peace officers to handle law enforcement activities unique to campus environments. The more than 450 commissioned officers spread across the 15 UT institutions are trained to protect life and property.   Permitting concealed handguns on a college campus creates more public safety challenges than it would prevent, and, therefore, is bad policy."

Universities are already the safest places in the country in terms of low crime rates and violence because they don’t allow firearms on campus.  Professors also say the possibility that a student might be carrying a hidden and loaded gun in class will greatly disrupt the college learning environment.
"This legislation is a solution to a nonexistent problem," said Marsha McCartney, President of the North Texas Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.  "If our lawmakers would listen to the university presidents, campus law enforcement officials, students, and parents who oppose this legislation, they would know that our students are safest on college campuses because guns are prohibited.  But if this bill passes, students will be exposed to the threat of gun violence, all because our legislators want to please the gun lobby."
Arming students is ineffective at stopping a mass shooting.  On Friday, April 10th, ABC News’ 20/20 investigative report demonstrated conclusively, through repeated tests, that armed students could not stop a rampage shooting even after being clued into the experiments.  A real-life encounter would be even more surprising, disorienting and virtually impossible for armed students to defend themselves and others.  In fact, ABC News concluded that an armed student or professor could easily kill or injure innocent students while attempting to flee or hide from an attacker. 
Allowing guns on campus could also cost Texas universities money, students, donors and prestige.  The legislation to arm students could easily push away thousands of parents and students from out of state who pay much higher tuition fees, especially when they have other universities to choose from.  Several Texas parents said that they would not allow their teens to attend any university that permitted students to carry hidden and loaded guns on campus and threatened to boycott any public university in Texas if the legislation is enacted.
Still another grave concern is that college students, in an environment of great stress, would have easy access to guns, alcohol and drugs.  These factors would likely lead to more suicides, unintentional shootings, murder-suicides and armed assaults. 
“This issue goes well beyond Texas,” said Pelosi of the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus.  “Arming college students, across the country, is the gun lobby’s next big target.  There is every indication that they will try to steamroll their extremist agenda despite the fact that the American people strongly oppose it.” 
The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus is building a national coalition of colleges and universities urging them to band together to oppose the gun lobby’s agenda to permit concealed guns on campus.  So far 48 colleges and universities in 19 states have signed resolutions in support of the campaign, including three schools in Texas, a sign that momentum is quickly building.  See list of schools

-- END --
 
 

February 12, 2009
In response to school shootings at Virginia Tech (2007) and Northern Illinois University (2008), the gun lobby is promoting state legislation that would preempt a public college or university’s current policies restricting firearms on campus and allow students to keep firearms in their dormitory rooms and carry concealed handguns on campus – in classrooms and at sporting events and other school activities.
 
One state – Utah – has already enacted such legislation.
The Utah law was the model for similar bills introduced in 17 states in 2008 – Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington. These and other states could be on the gun lobby’s agenda in 2009. Legislation has already been introduced in at least three states – Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.
“While school shootings such as those that occurred at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University are horrific events that attract national attention, the fact is that in the universe of gun violence America’s college campuses are among the safest environments for students,” said Andy Pelosi, president of GunFreeKids.org. “This is due, in no small part, to the fact that nearly all colleges and universities have adopted policies that prohibit or severely restrict firearms. We want to keep it that way.”
The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus is writing letters to the presidents of all state supported colleges and universities across the country (approximately 500) urging them to band together to oppose the gun lobby’s agenda. The letter asks the college or university to sign onto a resolution opposing “legislation that would preempt a college or university’s right to prohibit or adopt policies to regulate possession of firearms on campus.”
The list of colleges and universities that have signed the resolution will be provided to lawmakers in states that are considering legislation to allow guns on campus. The list of colleges and universities and other information on the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus is available at www.gunfreekids.org.
Added John Johnson, director of Iowans for the Prevention of Gun Violence, “I am proud that Iowa law currently prohibits possession of firearms on any school property. As a parent, I would not send my children to any college or university that allows students to possess firearms on campus.”
 
###
 
 

 
Press Releases (2008)

October 23, 2008

Gun Violence Prevention Organizations Release
State Senate and Assembly Scorecard in Albany
Groups also highlight the gun lobby’s favored candidates
 
(Albany): New York’s leading gun violence prevention organization, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, joined with GunFreeKids.org this morning at a Capitol press conference to release a joint scorecard for candidates running for the State Senate and Assembly.  The advocates highlighted candidates who demonstrated consistent support for strong gun violence prevention measures, while drawing a sharp distinction with those candidates supported by the gun lobby through endorsements and financial contributions.
Jackie Hilly, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, said: “Gun violence costs all New Yorkers in the lost potential of its victims, the devastation of families and neighborhoods and medical costs associated with attempting to save lives. New York State cannot afford to have elected officials who ignore this tragic scourge on our state and its law abiding citizens.”  Hilly continued “with this scorecard the voting records of all candidates and the financial support of the gun lobby will be apparent to all New Yorkers as they cast their votes this November. A well informed electorate is the best defense to failed policies and special interests.”
Andy Pelosi, Executive Director of GunFreeKids.org, said “We created this scorecard as a way to document where the candidates stand on the gun violence prevention issue, but more importantly we view it as a resource guide for voters so that they may decide for themselves, who really supports life saving measures to reduce the threat of gun violence in our communities and who is beholden to the interests of the gun lobby.
Pelosi continued, “Approximately 225 candidates running in both houses were rated based on answers to a questionnaire, past votes, gun lobby endorsements and campaign contributions.  We are pleased to note that nearly 60% received grades of “A” or “B”. We did award far more failing grades of “F” in the State Senate, where the gun lobby continues its stranglehold over a large portion of the members.  Perhaps it’s no coincidence that when the Assembly passes strong gun violence prevention measures each year, they can only watch them die on the vine in the Senate.
The link to the 2008 scorecard can be found on GunFreeKids’ website: http://www.gunfreekids.org/sites/gunfreekids.com/files/gfk_nys_scorecard.pdf 
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June 26, 2008 

U.S. Supreme Court rules (5-4) that 2nd Amendment protects an individual right to possess a handgun. 
However, decision also supports a system of strong gun laws.
 

As you may know, earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the 2nd Amendment in the case, District of Columbia v. Heller. While we disagree with Justice Scalia's majority opinion conferring an individual right to bear arms, the sky has not fallen for those of us involved with gun violence prevention.  Yes, the court decided to ignore long standing precedent that included over 200 federal court cases on the subject (not to mention a few Supreme Court cases).
Nevertheless, Justice Scalia and the majority have provided us with two important things:

  1. They have affirmed, what many people, including the gun lobby, a number of politicians, and some members of the general public chant as a mantra, which is the 2nd Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms. Great, that's one less excuse politicians can hide behind and destroys the number one talking point for the gun lobby.
  2. More importantly, the court also stated that reasonable regulations can be imposed on the carrying and sale of guns, and acknowledged that "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited and [The Court's] opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms," (p. 54-55).  In addition, an important footnote added: "We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive."(footnote 26, p. 55)

After reviewing the Heller decision, we firmly believe that most, if not all of our current gun laws (including background checks, licensing, and bans on assault weapons) can pass constitutional muster. More importantly, we have been provided with a road map in which to move forward with legislation that can promote public safety by targeting illegal guns and weapons of war.
Our fight to reduce the 30,000 gun deaths in our country continues and we need you to remain committed to the cause and help bring others in.
If you would like to read the Heller decision, click here: http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/07-290.pdf
 
Sincerely,
Andy Pelosi
GunFreeKids.org

 
April 3, 2008
Gun Distributor Warns That Brooklyn Gun Manufacturer Henry Repeating Arms Company May Have Shipped Rifles For Sale Loaded With Ammunition
Suspected Rifles May Include ‘Youth’ Rifles for Children

Washington, DC–According to an “Urgent Notice” for gun dealers issued by firearms distributor Sports South, Inc., Brooklyn rifle manufacturer Henry Repeating Arms may have shipped rifles for sale loaded with ammunition. The warning (http://www.vpc.org/henry.htm) was posted on the distributor’s web site (http://www.sportssouthinc.com) up until Wednesday, April 2, and stated:

“URGENT ATTENTION REQUIRED!!!!

We have been notified by Henry Repeating Arms that some rifles may have been shipped by them loaded with ammunition. If you have any Henry Rifles in inventory they must be inspected to make sure they do not contain ammunition. Also, please inspect any incoming Henry Rifles. This does not relate to a specific model or date. Each gun in your inventory must be checked for ammunition. Henry Repeating Arms apologizes for any inconvenience that this may cause.”

The warning has recently been removed. No mention of the possibly loaded rifles is made on the Henry Repeating Arms web site (http://www.henryrepeating.com) which promotes some of its rifle lines as “youth” rifles for children.

Andy Pelosi, executive director of New York-based GunFreeKids.org, states, “Henry Repeating Arms should move swiftly to make the general public aware of the threat posed by these loaded guns. An ‘apology’ for any ‘inconvenience’ to gun dealers is inadequate. State and local authorities need to know how this occurred and what steps may be necessary to prevent future incidents.”

Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center adds, “The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should move immediately to identify any federal laws or regulations that have been violated while doing everything in its power to make sure that each and every one of these guns is identified and that proper safeguards are put in place to ensure that such a public safety threat is never again repeated.”

The Violence Policy Center is a national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals. The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related death and injury.