Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA will allow students students to keep firearms in their dorms on campus when classes begin this fall.
Students will have to acquire a concealed carry permit from the Commonwealth of Virginia and ask permission from school administrators to be allowed to have a firearm on campus. Firearms will be stored in safes provided by the school.
The new policy was passed by trustees at the private Christian university at the request of college President Jerry Falwell, son of the late Moral Majority leader who founded Liberty University in 1971.
The News Advance reports that trustees gave Falwell discretion in implementing the new policy:
Falwell said he is making the adjustment to help students who have concealed-carry permits but are limited by current university rules to keeping their weapons in the glove compartments of their vehicles, which can be a 15-minute bus ride away on the growing campus.
He expects the change to affect few people, since students 21 and older are eligible for permits from the state, and not many 21-year-old students live in dorms on campus. Out of 200 or so students that live in residence halls who might be eligible, he said only about 20 have permits right now.
The policy will allow students to carry on campus and requires them to put the guns in safes in their dorm rooms immediately, upon entering their residence hall.
In December, Falwell made headlines when he made several pro-gun comments during a Friday convocation on campus immediately following the deadly terror attacks in San Bernardino, CA:
“It just blows my mind that the president of the United States [says] that the answer to circumstances like that is more gun control,” he said to applause.
“If some of those people in that community center had what I have in my back pocket right now …,” he said while being interrupted by louder cheers and clapping. “Is it illegal to pull it out? I don’t know,” he said, chuckling.
“I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in,” he says, the rest of his sentence drowned out by loud applause while he said, “and killed them.”
“I just wanted to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to get your permit. We offer a free course,” he said. “Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here.”
In January, Falwell endorsed Donald Trump for President.
The gun-friendly campus policy flies in the face of recent calls to make all colleges and universities “gun-free zones.” In March, Virginia’s northern neighbor Maryland passed a bill mandating such policies for their universities. Gov. Larry Hogan has not yet made a decision on the bill.
With the recent on-campus shooting by a deranged former student in Oregon, and the infamous Virginia Tech murders (which took place 97 miles away from Liberty University,) many 2nd amendment advocates are pushing for more open gun policies for campuses such as the one Falwell has pushed for in Lynchburg.
If schools can’t ensure the safety of students by keeping a crazed murderer from killing innocent, unarmed students, why shouldn’t a trained, qualified and certified citizen have the ability to defend themselves? Wouldn’t you feel safer knowing your child attended a school with a gun policy like Liberty’s?