Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican, on Wednesday signed into law legislation -- opposed by faculty groups -- to lift the state's ban on guns at colleges and universities. The legislation also lifts a ban on guns in other locations, such as day care centers, leading critics to call the legislation the "guns everywhere" bill.
Under the new law, college boards still need to formally permit guns on campus. Even if boards don’t rush to welcome guns on campus (and they aren’t currently expected to do so), critics say the legislation would effectively make it too easy to bring guns on campus. Currently, bringing a gun to a “gun-free zone” such as a campus is a low-level felony. Under the legislation, doing so would no longer be a felony and would be equivalent to a parking ticket -- so many professors fear that people wouldn’t think twice about bringing a gun to campus.
Some professors also fear that public higher education boards will feel pressure to permit guns.
A resolution sent to the governor by the Ohio Faculty Council -- urging him to veto the bill -- says that “the free and open exchange of ideas” is fundamental to higher education and such “exchanges are facilitated by environments that are violence‐free/safe spaces.”
Added the resolution: “An understanding that individuals engaged in these exchanges could legally possess handguns would significantly and negatively impact the dynamic of those discussions and the value of higher education in Ohio.”
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