50,000-Student Private University Institutes Campus Carry

Liberty U is allowing properly permitted, of-age students to have firearms on them and in residence halls.
Liberty U is allowing properly permitted, of-age students to have firearms on them and in residence halls.web photo

Before classes started today, Liberty University in Virginia has posted details of its new policy allowing students with concealed-carry permits and permission to carry on campus to have firearms in their residence halls.

According to this story from roanoke.com, the private Liberty U, which has about 50,000 undergraduate students, has been making policy changes over the past five years to allow greater freedom to carry on campus.

University President Jerry Falwell Jr. said the changes began in 2011 after a mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007.

The new policy says non-employee students must apply to the Liberty University Police Department for permission to carry on campus, and for gun safes to be installed in their dorm rooms. It's up to students to foot the bill for installation of the safe, programming, and removal when they move. According to state law, a person must be 21 or over to get a carry permit, so this won't be an option for most of the student body.

"Only students with university-provided and installed safes in their room may carry an approved weapon into residence halls, and each resident assigned to live in such a room must consent to the installation of the safe in their room," the policy says.

“I want to have a gun so I can protect myself. I want to be able to protect myself at all times.”

Previously, Liberty U has allowed concealed carry for visitors and approved employees on campus, and allowed eligible students to carry in other campus locations.

Falwell said he's making the adjustment so students who have concealed-carry permits don't have to leave their guns in their vehicles, which can be up to a 15-minute bus ride away on the large campus.

Student Jordan Stein, president of the Students at Liberty for Gun Rights club, said he and others have been raising the issue with students on campus when recruiting for their club.

"I think that got a lot of students thinking and talking about that and saying, 'Hey, our dorms are our weak spot,'" he said in the story.

Falwell said the change won’t affect many, since there are only about 200 or so students that live in residence halls who might be eligible, and of them, only 20 have permits.

Stein turned 21 in January and has been working through the requirements to get his concealed-carry permit. Once complete, he says he intends to apply for carry on campus and get a safe for his dorm.

“I want to have a gun so I can protect myself,” he said. “I want to be able to protect myself at all times.”