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Bill to allow concealed carry guns on college campuses delayed

The drive to pass a bill to allow people to bring guns onto college campuses has been slowed at the Ohio Statehouse.

The proposal from Rep. Ron Maag, R-Lebanon, would let people with a Concealed Carry Weapon Permit bring a weapon onto college campuses if that school’s board of trustees allow it.

After the violent attack at Ohio State University Monday, the long-pending proposal received special attention and appeared to be destined for quick action by the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, with a possible vote by the full Senate hours later.

Instead, Wednesday’s hearing ended with committee chairman Sen. Bill Coley, R- Liberty Twp., telling reporters the committee vote will likely come next week.

Critics expressed hope that the extra time will allow for additional consideration of the impact of the bill.

Michele Mueller, leader of the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action, said in a written statement that delaying the vote on HB 48 will “give them more time to consider the dangers this bill poses to Ohioans.” She called on lawmakers to reject the bill. “We urge the committee to stand up for public safety and reject this reckless proposal if and when a vote is scheduled,” Mueller said.

Former University Hospital emergency room nurse Jill Bowman of Warren County called the proposal “the worst idea ever.” She said she worries about accidental shootings, weapons falling into the wrong hands on campus and how CCW Permit holders would respond when faced with a threatening situation.

Supporters of the bill hoped for passage before another violent attack on a college campus like the one at Ohio State. OSU Law School student Jonathan Beshears, a CCW permit holder, said criminals and terrorists are the ones who be afraid on campus, not students. “We want to safe when we are on campus. We don’t want to be attacked and want to be able to defend ourselves. We don’t want to wait for police officers,” Beshears said.

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