Of All Places – A University In Gun-Rich West Virginia Bans Guns.

            “The possession and/or use of any dangerous weapons is strictly forbidden on university property. Weapons include but are not limited to the following: Firearms, BB guns, pellet guns, paintball guns, blowguns, bows and/or arrows, dangerous knives, firecrackers, ammunition, and other explosive material. Possession of the above will result in the immediate suspension from the residence halls, and may also result in expulsion and possible legal action.”

WLU           Folks, this isn’t from the student manual at Berkeley, or Johns Hopkins, or Harvard, or some other bastion of liberalism where students are taught first and foremost to be politically correct in everything they do or say.  This is from the student manual from West Liberty University which happens to be located in Wheeling, West Virginia. Now don’t confuse West Liberty University with Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, founded by one of America’s most successful televangelists, the late jerry Falwell, which prepares its students, according to the school’s website, to become a ‘Champion for Christ.’

West Liberty University was founded in 1837, at a time when the state hadn’t yet been admitted to the Union, but its location at the far western corner of West Virginia meant that it was considered to be the westernmost spot where liberty and justice was guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence.  The school was actually started to provide a liberal arts education to the Appalachian region, which it has done from then up until the present day.

So the school is quite different in terms of culture and content from what goes on at Liberty University in Lynchburg, and nowhere is this difference more apparent than as regards the issue of guns. Because you may recall that our illustrious Republican Presidential Pretender, Donald the Shlump, made an appearance at Liberty University back in January, misquoted the Scripture but still managed to give the University a big pat on the back because the University President, Jerry Falwell Jr., is an unabashed supporter of anyone and everyone who wants to walk around his campus carrying a gun.  He went so far as to say back last December that if more people had been carrying guns in San Bernardino, that the Muslims could have been ‘killed’ before they walked in the door.

Falwell’s message evidently hasn’t gone over very well with the Board and Administration at West Liberty University in the neighboring state. In fact, the decision to ban all guns from the campus, even guns locked away in automobiles, was in response to recent mass shootings on college campuses and elsewhere, and I quote the University President’s statement right here: “We want our students to feel safe, secure, and comfortable. I don’t know how comfortable someone would feel knowing that someone on campus is carrying a dangerous weapon.”

So when it comes to college campuses and guns, the veritable cat has finally been let out of the veritable bag, namely, this school has decided that all of the NRA and Gun-nut Nation crap about how guns in the hands of civilians protect us from crime is simply not true.  And furthermore, this enlightened University administration is equally unimpressed by the other Gun-nut Nation crap about the lure of gun-free zones.

What really prompted West Liberty University to promote and enforce its campus ban on guns was the recent constitutional-carry law in the Mountain State which basically means that anyone who can legally own a gun in West Virginia can also walk around armed.  The bill was originally vetoed by the Governor but the Legislature overlooked opposition from the law enforcement community and told Governor Tomblin to stick his veto you know where.

The Administration and Board of West Liberty University, a school located in what is probably one of the most gun-rich states, had the intelligence, common sense and leadership to decide that guns and education simply don’t mix.  College-age students often drink, they sometimes get depressed, and most of all, they sometimes do silly and impulsive things.

Go Hilltoppers! When it comes to a gun-free campus, let’s hope your message spreads.


6 thoughts on “Of All Places – A University In Gun-Rich West Virginia Bans Guns.

  1. This is one of those topics where we can all get our snide comments in.

    First, there was a published study** (2002 Miller et al) out of the Hemenway group at Harvard, “Guns and Gun Threats at College” that indeed indicated that as a group, college age students who had guns on campus (or in their off campus apartments) tended to be…well…a little unsavory. This is distinct from the kerfuffle at UT Austin, where only licensed CCW holders can, unless stopped by Federal injunction, carry on campus. Big difference.
    ** http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12416937

    Having been on a university faculty for a decade at the U of Hawaii, I don’t see where universities need guns but on the other hand, “gun nut nation” has a point: those bent on armed mayhem generally don’t read signs. So while Western Liberty University’s policy is probably a good idea to cut down on accidents and stupidity, it will do nothing to stop a shooter. I had a CCW all the while I was in graduate school. Never packed it to work. Stony Brook University was a gun free zone, and I never felt vulnerable not having a hand cannon in easy reach. The NRA’s propaganda to the contrary, the risks of leaving the smokepole at home ain’t that big.

  2. Yours is a good piece, well written and one that makes sense. Thanks for your voice here. That being said, there are two caveats to the foregoing:

    1) About 26 million years ago (1975-1977) I went to school in Wheeling (The then Wheeling College which has grown into Wheeling Jesuit University) and having then visited the “West Lib” campus (nice place as I recall) on an occasion or two, I can assure you that West Liberty is not in Wheeling. Near Wheeling? Yeah, close enough. A little farther north up the WV northern panhandle but not at all in Wheeling per se. West Liberty is in fact (drumroll please) in West Liberty, West Virginia

    2) When West Liberty was established in 1837 it was established in a state that was in The Union, namely, Virginia. West Virginia didn’t yet exist but was to be carved out of Virginia as a result of the Civil War. Your piece made it sound as if West Liberty was established in a territory as opposed to a state. It was not.

    Other than those two points, you’re pretty much spot on.

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