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Chancellor Daniel Klaich (Photo courtesy of system.nevada.edu)
Chancellor Daniel Klaich (Photo courtesy of system.nevada.edu)

Chancellor Klaich ‘Hates’ Concealed Weapons Bill, Students Agree

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Some UNLV students and faculty fear that Nevada Assembly Bill 148 to conceal and carry guns will increase danger on campus.

The bill would allow individuals with concealed weapons permits to carry their weapons on any campus of the Nevada System of Higher Education, including inside most public buildings and in unsecured areas of airports.

“I hate that bill,” said Chancellor Daniel Klaich, “I don’t see a reason to have concealed weapons on our campuses. There’s not a police chief in our system who wants a bunch of folks running around with concealed weapons. Seriously we’re talking about guns on campus rather than funding.”

Klaich does however, support the idea of teachers being able to also carry weapons as a form of protection if the concealed weapons bill gets passed. “You can tell I’m fired up, no pun intended. Idaho has a concealed weapon law in effect and on one of their campuses a professor accidently shot himself in the foot while he was teaching. Accidents happen with guns,” Klaich said.

According to Klaich the concealed weapons bill is flawed and he finds it difficult to wrap his head around why there is even a discussion about passing it.

Criminal Justice Department Chair Joel D. Lieberman, states the idea of allowing students to be armed on campus creates a lot of complications. “It changes the dynamic greatly of the classroom setting. It also brings a lot of weapons that even in the event of an active shooter situation it’s a very dangerous situation because for police to respond and see a room full of guns they won’t know the bad guy is,” Lieberman said.

Lieberman states that the goal of the bill is noble in its intentions, but it creates really hazardous situations. “From the view of law enforcement agencies this bill is not something they would be highly supportive of,” he said.

“Proper training is an important thing because if you look at instances where civilians have stopped mass shootings the only times civilians have effectively intervened is when they have extensive training like prior training as a police officer or in the military,” Lieberman said. “There hasn’t been a single mass shooting in U.S. history that a civilian without training has stopped… not a single one.”

“For every time that a gun is used effectively to stop an offender it’s used so much more on in terms of people taking their own lives or accidental shootings. I think there would be a lot more student deaths through increase student access to guns than you’d have crime be prevented,” Lieberman said.

UNLV senior Political Science major Miguel Hechavarria, 22, believes students being armed on campus is a horrible idea. “There’s no reason for them to carry concealed weapons on their person. I don’t know which provisions of Bill 148 that are used to stipulate how and when students can carry,” Hechavarria said.

In theory, the idea of having training for students to carry on campus is brilliant to Hechavarria but the university would also need to require a special carrying class for on-campus licensing.

“The problem is that once an individual has that license they can do whatever they want as an autonomous citizen,” Hechavarria said. “What training/regulations will be placed on people who are not students at that specific university or that graduated already but decided to still carry a concealed weapon? I don’t believe campuses will be safer with students carrying guns to classes.”

Hechavarria is concerned with the regulations of who gets to carry the firearms and why there is a need for them to begin with. “Personally, I do not know anyone who actually would consider carrying a gun on campus. Also, if you have a carrying license does that mean an 18-year-old freshman can keep a gun in their room or under their pillow at all times. Is there a mental capacity test to make sure people are being licensed are not at risk for a psychotic breakdown and shoot up their entire dorm building?” Hechavarria said.

According to Hechavarria college is a stressful environment and there is quite a large learning curve for those who are getting their first true adult freedom and receiving more responsibilities without parents telling them what to do. “As a student, I would be perturbed if I noticed someone was carrying a weapon on their person while we are in class but I also don’t believe it would be extremely disruptive,” Hechavarria said.

UNLV student Lisa Tran, 21, who works on campus at the admissions office, stated that if the bill passes that she would not feel comfortable at her on campus job. “I work at admissions and face a lot of angry customers who are upset about their transcripts, immunizations, getting denied and etc.” Tran said. “You never know if a student getting upset about that could pull a gun on me or my co workers.”

If the bill is passed, Tran plans to take more online classes. “You never know nowadays I feel like students having a gun on campus could be dangerous thing and I would not want to be around that,” she said.

In regards to students being armed on campus, regardless of proper training and background checks, UNLV senior Education major Noelle Cimino, 22, would no longer consider the campus to be a safe environment.

“Despite adequate training and background checks, we too often find firearms ending up in the wrong hands. Too many disasters have taken place in public, in schools, at home, etc., and allowing the students to carry weapons will only further the chances of there being an incident,” Cimino said.

As a graduating senior, armed students on campus would not affect Cimino’s learning but she states that if this bill had passed her freshman year, or if her children were to consider this university as a place to further their education, “I personally would have made another choice, and would encourage my children to do the same,” said Cimino.

As a future educator, Cimino stated that, “It is my job to make the safety and well-being of my students my top priority. If a bill is passed that jeopardizes this safety, it would deter my effectiveness as an educator,” said Cimino. “It has happened far too often where a firearm gets into the hands of a child or of someone who underestimates their power, and an easily avoidable incident quickly turns into a death.”

Members of the Nevada Assembly voted 24-15 to approve the bill on April 6, and and it will now move to the state Senate.

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