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Do college students want concealed weapons on campus?

(MoneyWatch) This year at least 19 states have introduced legislation to allow concealed weapons on college campuses, while five other states have introduced bills that would prohibit concealed weapons on campuses.

Despite the legislative push for weapons, a new study suggests that an overwhelming number of college students are opposed to concealed weapons where they attend school.

Seventy eight percent of students, who were surveyed at 15 Midwestern colleges and universities, expressed opposition to concealed weapons, according to the study which was published in the Journal of American College Health.

"This issue of allowing people to carry concealed weapons at universities and colleges around the U.S. has been raised several times in recent years," said Jagdish Khubchandani, a member of Ball State University. "This is in spite of the fact that almost four of every five students are not in favor of allowing guns on campus."

Other study findings

Here are some of the study's other findings:

About 16 percent of undergraduates own a firearm and 20 percent have witnessed a crime on their campus that involved firearms.

About 79 percent of students would not feel safe if faculty, students and visitors carried concealed handguns on campus.

About 66 percent did not feel that carrying a gun would make them less likely to be troubled by others.

Half of students did not know whether their university had a policy regarding firearms on campus.

Most students also believed that permitting concealed guns would increase the rate of suicides and homicides on campus.

The study is part of a series that Khubchandani has conducted that explores firearm violence. In 2009, he found that the majority of campus police chiefs supported the idea of informing students and parents about no-firearms campus policies and expelling students who brought firearms to campus.

Concealed weapons supporters

Despite student opposition, some politicians are pushing to welcome firearms on campuses. Of the 19 states that have introduced legislation to allow concealed weapons on campuses, legislators have approved bills in two of them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Due to legislation and court rulings, six states have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on college campuses. These states are Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin.

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