Campuses may soon regulate firearm shows

The issue of guns and firearms being allowed on campuses has hit closer to home as Republican State Rep. Chris Broadwater, who represents areas of Hammond, has proposed legislation which would regulate firearm auctioning on college campuses.
House Bill 244 states that a public postsecondary educational institution may lease their property to “non-profit organizations or associations” that would in turn use the space to auction or sell firearms. This bill could soon place the selling of firearms on the university’s campus, although with this proposal comes obvious restrictions for student safety.
Events would mandate that campus security and university police be present at the event, in all areas of the arena, the firearms must be shown in a static display and the event must be held indoors.
Broadwater’s bill passed on a 90-2 vote, and he claims colleges and universities have been profiting from renting their space for a long time now, but the difference is that it was not stated in the lease before.
The past law only required the management team of the building being leased to supervise the event. Now the lease will “authorize and provide” the sale and auction of firearms at the event.
According to The Advocate’s Capitol News Bureau, Democrat State Rep. Barbara Norton, who represents parts of Shreveport, combats this point of view, thinking the legislation send the wrong message to students.
“You are concerned about safety, I’m concerned with the message it sends,” Norton said in an interview with The Advocate. “I think it’s the wrong thing to do.”
Louisiana is one of 34 states which do not require background checks at the purchase or sale of a firearm. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Illinois, Colorado, Oregon and California are the only states requiring a background check before an individual purchases a firearm.
Federal Bureau of Investigation tracks background checks from sales of firearms, and according to FBI statistics shown on Governing.com, Louisiana went through 326, 290 background checks in 2012. The national total for background checks that same year was 39,056,135.
Southeastern’s policy on students possessing firearms on campus would be in direct contradiction with HB 244. The Student Code of Conduct puts possession of weapons as a factor for misconduct. If students were to purchase a firearm at a show held on campus, this would violate the conduct code. Article IV, B, 10 states any threatening weapon, firearm or knife on university property will result in sanctions including fines, counseling and loss of privileges.
Senior kinesiology major Sarah Derenbecker personally does not have an issue with guns or firearms. She said colleges and universities should have the right to choose which programs to host and would not feel uncomfortable if there were a gun show taking place on campus while she were at school, but she questions if this idea will trickle down the educational totem pole.
“I think that any university should be allowed to decide what projects they have on their campus. The university already accepts programs which are typically not funded for by the state, so hosting a gun show shouldn’t be any different,” said Derenbecker. “But, if there were gun shows on Southeastern’s campus, how long would it be before a high school had them or elementary schools?”
As to whether or not having a gun show on campus would make it easier for students to own guns, Southeastern and University Center representatives did not respond in time for print.
HB244 now awaits confirmation in the Louisiana State Senate.

 

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to properly reflect the meaning of House Bill 244, which is to regulate the auctioning of firearms on college campuses and to enforce new safety rules.

Ed