Okla. Senate Shoots Down Bill To Allow Guns On Campuses

This story was written by Will Holland, Oklahoma Daily
A bill that would have allowed some students, faculty and staff members to bring concealed weapons onto Oklahoma college and university campuses was shot down in the state Senate Monday.

House Bill 2513, which was proposed by Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, was killed when Senate Appropriations Committee co-chairmen Sen. Johnny Crutchfield, D-Ardmore, and Sen. Mike Johnson, R-Kingfisher, decided not to put the bill on Wednesday's committee agenda, Murphey said.

"Neither one of us felt that we needed half a classroom of kids carrying a gun around with them," Crutchfield said.

Crutchfield said he is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, as well as a former teacher and police officer.

Murphey said he is disappointed the Senate will not get the opportunity to vote on the bill, which passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives in March with almost two-thirds of the vote.

"The people of Oklahoma deserve to know how their senators stand on this issue," Murphey said in an e-mail.

He said he thinks the issue of concealed weapons on college campuses will be addressed again soon, possibly in amendments to an existing bill.

Crutchfield said, if another bill aimed to allow concealed weapons on campuses, he would try to stop it from passing.

"I'd try to kill it," he said.

OU President David L. Boren and other college presidents expressed concerns over the bill Monday, according to a Tuesday article in The Daily.

"I do not think I have seen a single piece of legislation that would bring more negative consequences than this," Boren said in the meeting. "All of the major politicians in the state have warned about this bill. I'm a supporter of the Second Amendment rights, but that's not the issue."

Crutchfield said he agrees with Boren and other university and college presidents who have spoken out against this bill. But he said he and Johnson made the decision to not put the bill on the agenda before they heard the college presidents' opinions.

"I was happy to see they had that viewpoint, but it didn't affect my decision," Crutchfield said.

Murphey said he disagrees with Boren's disapproval of the bill, however.

"His stance is a huge mistake on 2513," Murphey said.

Murphey said the bill was a compromise because the bill would have limited the people who were allowed to bring concealed handguns on campus.

"Instead of taking advantage of the compromise, they just went on the attack," he said.

Murphey said he proposed the bill in response to the shootings at Northern Illinois University earlier this year.

"It's frustrating because it keeps happening," he said, referring to the string of recent attacks on school campuses. "If it keeps happening, let's let people defend themselves."

Miles Hall, owner of H&H Gun Range, said he agrees with Murphey, and said people have the right to defend themselves on campus.

"I can't believe that the presidents of the universities are of the opinion to disarm the population of the campus," Hall said.

He said he thinks shooters target areas like college campuses because they know they are gun-free.

"The good people are the ones being hurt," Hall said.

Hall said he expects the issue to be addressed again in the future.

As for this bill, however, Crutchfield said, "The bottom line is, it's dead."
© 2008 Oklahoma Daily via U-WIRE