California state senator Lois Wolk’s (D-Davis) push to outlaw concealed carry on college campuses received a boost when Wolk made an exemption for retired police officers, thereby gaining the support of the California Police Chiefs Association and the Peace Officers Research Association of California.
Wolk’s central aim is to keep concealed carry permit holders from carrying on campus, as she says the permits are “more prevalent and easier to obtain” than they once were. Guns.com points out that Wolk’s statement flies in the face of the reality of “multiple” lawsuits filed in California over “the near-impossibility to obtain [a concealed permit] them in some counties.”
California law barring guns on campus currently contains an exemption for concealed carry permit holders. Wolk’s bill–Senate Bill 707–would remove that exemption for all but retired police officers.
Wolk and SB 707 supporters, like UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael, do not differentiate between concealed carry permit holders and criminals who carry guns on campus. For example, when Carmichael testified in support of the bill he said:
As the police chief at a university campus, my number one priority is the safety of our students, faculty and staff. SB 707 would help me further fulfill my public safety obligations by reducing the number of guns on campus and thus ensuring a continued safe learning environment at UC Davis. As a parent myself, this is of critical importance to me.
This approach ignores the benefits of guns that are in the hands of law-abiding citizens. It also creates an environment we have seen on other college and university campuses around the country, where a gunman who ignores the ban can simply find an area with little to no police presence and kill innocents at will, without facing the threat of a would-be victim being able to defend him or herself.
Wolk’s bill is also supported by the California Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Brady Campaign representatives decry concealed carry on campus and try to paint an ominous image of it by describing “legally” concealed handguns as “hidden, loaded firearms” that decrease “the safety of students and others.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at email@example.com.