Area college presidents sign open letter calling for gun safety measures

2012-12-20T16:45:00Z 2012-12-21T17:25:49Z Area college presidents sign open letter calling for gun safety measuresBy Lenore Sobota | lsobota@pantagraph.com pantagraph.com

BLOOMINGTON — More than 200 presidents of colleges and universities nationwide — including Illinois Wesleyan University and Eureka College — have joined an open letter urging “rational gun safety measures” in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

“Over the last two to three years, we’ve had a number of mass shootings like this,” IWU President Dick Wilson said Thursday. “This most recent one for most of us was the last straw.”

Eureka President David Arnold said, “This tragedy has impacted everyone. This was just a response by the educational community” to encourage action.

The effort was launched by Presidents Lawrence Schall of Oglethorpe University and Elizabeth Kiss of Agnes Scott College through an association of small to mid-size independent liberal arts colleges and universities. Both schools are in Atlanta, Ga.

The letter, posted online under the name “College Presidents for Gun Safety,” calls for:

- Opposing legislation allowing guns on our campuses and in our classrooms.

- Ending the practice of allowing guns to be purchased from unlicensed sellers at gun shows without a criminal background check.

- Reinstating bans on military-style semiautomatic assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

- Requiring consumer safety standards on guns that would include safety locks, access prevention and rules related to manufacturing defects.

The letter also states, “Identification and treatment of the mental health issues that lie beneath so many of the mass murders to which we increasingly bear witness must also be addressed.”

Wilson thinks the likelihood of change has increased because “the outrage across the country is at a fever pitch.”

The incident that left 20 children six adults and the gunman dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and the gunman’s mother dead at her home has changed the gun control landscape, Arnold said.

“I think it’s created a tipping point where it can’t be ignored,” he said.

Illinois State University President Al Bowman is not part of the group that spearheaded the campaign and did not receive the letter.

ISU presidential spokesman Jay Groves said, “This is obviously a horrible situation and very complex to address.”

He said Bowman would agree that universities should be exempt from any laws to allow people to carry concealed weapons in public places.

Wilson said, “We are going to see what we can do to sustain the discussion and not have it be just a month of December debate.”

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(5) Comments

  1. fathead
    Report Abuse
    fathead - December 21, 2012 2:09 pm
    That was sarcasm. Gun-grabbers use the mentality that if they ban something or forbid it to be somewhere that it will magically go away and not bother them. As we all know, that is not the case. They will continue to beat their drum and dance in the blood of these children to make progress towards their true goal of concentrating power in the hands of the elite and untouchable well to do and politically connected.
  2. ct
    Report Abuse
    ct - December 21, 2012 6:38 am
    I think we should arm the students

    I can't think of anything safer than 7 year-olds packing military style assault rifles. We may not be able to get them to eat their vegetables anymore, but they'll be safe right?

    I know our govt budget is tight, but we can not afford to not buy every one, teachers, students, etc a gun.
  3. frank4052
    Report Abuse
    frank4052 - December 21, 2012 4:52 am
    Yea make it like Chicago with the heavy gun laws they are the murder capital of the US.
    Need armed guards in schools, and they need to be locked down when in class. Think All BHO secret service people think like him and don't need the guns they carry?
  4. ice123
    Report Abuse
    ice123 - December 20, 2012 9:19 pm
    "If that school in CT were a gun free zone that deranged killer never would have committed that atrocity."
    Are you serious? A gun free zone? This kid shot his mother in the face multiple times, do you really think he would have drove to the school and then all of a sudden stopped and said....hhmmmm I better not do this because it is a gun free zone.

  5. fathead
    Report Abuse
    fathead - December 20, 2012 7:54 pm
    Please pass this legislation. If that school in CT were a gun free zone that deranged killer never would have committed that atrocity. Why didnt we think of this before? Be sure to post the ban on big signs to ensure future murderers know that they should move on to another target where someone might be armed, I hear they look for fair fights.

    Problem solved.
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