Guns on Campus? One Virginia College Takes it to the Next Level

liberty-university
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

 

At a time when all across the country, state legislatures and colleges are wrestling with the idea of permitting students (or even faculty) to carry firearms on campus, one Virginia college not only encourages its students to arm themselves, but has taken an extraordinary step to further its position.

Liberty University, the Lynchburg, VA, based Christian college started by the late Jerry Falwell, Sr.,  announced at the Campbell County Planning Commission public hearing on December 5, 2016, that it plans on building a full-scale, shooting, training, and competition center on its campus.

The initial plans call for the construction of an outdoor range that will include a one, two, and three hundred-yard rifle range, several shotgun ranges and stands for such shooting sports as skeet, trap, five stand, and sporting clays.  Furthermore, the facility will include a pistol range, an area for three-gun competition, tactical shooting, and a potential police shoot-house.

The range will be built to comply with NRA and NCAA standards and guidelines and will be able to host all Olympic shooting sports competitions.

While there are approximately thirty other colleges around the country that have outdoor shooting ranges off-campus, Liberty University will be the first to have a range located on its central campus property.

The motivation for the range came from the response the university received when it started offering students a handgun safety class nearly two years ago. There have been nearly 900 students take the safety class since its inception.

This past fall, Liberty instituted a firearms policy that states:

members of the university community that are over 21 with concealed weapons permits can seek permission from Liberty University Police Department (LUPD) to carry concealed weapons on campus and store them in their locked vehicles. Faculty and staff are allowed to have concealed weapons stored in secured containers in their offices once approved by LUPD. Resident students may carry concealed or store weapons in residence halls in a university provided safe once approved by LUPD. The weapons policy also outlines a procedure for members of the university community of any age to store their weapons with LUPD.

The University made headlines last year when its president, Jerry Falwell, Jr., encouraged students in a convocation at the school in December, 2015, to carry concealed firearms to defend themselves against armed Muslim attacks. He stated “I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in.” Falwell made clear that he meant “Islamic terrorists” when he stated “those Muslims.”

Construction is expected to begin following the approval of final zoning rights during a county meeting in January. Once completed, the facility will be open to the campus community and to the general public. Click here to read more details about the complex. — by Michael Wisdom, Senior Contributing Editor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield Blog