In the wake of a mass shooting on a campus in Oregon, Michigan legislators and university administrators are examining whether or not current gun laws are adequate.
A Michigan Senate panel recently passed a bill that would allow concealed-carry license holders to bring guns on college campuses. The current law excludes controlled pistol license (CPL) holders from having weapons on college campuses.
The University of Texas recently passed an open carry law, which will allow CPL holders to carry guns on campus starting in August 2016.
If the bill in Michigan is signed into law, Ferris still has the authority to establish its own policy. According to Ferris officials, allowing guns on campus is not a consideration.
“Ferris is, in a relative sense, a very safe campus,” said Ferris Vice President for Administration and Finance Jerry Scoby. “In terms of having guns on campuses and in classrooms, I’m not aware of any good that could come of that.”
The open carry bill must still be signed by Governor Rick Snyder. He vetoed similar legislation by republicans in 2012. Ferris currently states no person within the university environment is allowed to possess weapons or explosives, including airsoft, paintball and BB guns.
“The policy we have in place is in the best interest of students,” said Bruce Borkovich, director the Ferris Department of Public Safety. “I see both sides of the issue, but everything has to be looked at individually and everything has limits.” Borkovich is a hunter and firm supporter of the second amendment, but said the mere existence of guns on campus could cause inadvertent accidents.
“There’s a dangerous assumption that because someone goes through the class to become a concealed pistol license holder, that they are then capable and prepared to engage someone in a gun fight,” he said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.” On Monday, Nov. 9, Scoby and Borkovich, along with President David Eisler, university faculty and representatives of student government will walk the entire Ferris campus for a lighting and safety assessment. “It’s a fun, proactive way to make sure we’re doing all we can to have a safe campus,” Scoby said.
Scoby also said a task force for campus safety will soon be finalized to review Ferris’ current safety policies and educate students about them.
“We know there is no place that’s totally immune to crazy behavior,” Borkovich said. “We’re continually looking to make things safer. Obviously we can’t make this place a fortress, but we’re always reevaluating what we do.”