Empire Editorial: Concealed carry bill misses the mark

A bill that would allow concealed carry on University of Alaska campuses needs marksman-like precision to be successful; the way it’s proposed now — more like a hail of bullets — will cause problems in the long term.

SB176, introduced by Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole, via a legislative intern, skirts around Second Amendment rights by going after University of Alaska policies as a whole. The bill would forbid the University of Alaska Board of Regents from enacting policies that don’t run parallel to state laws.

The question is: How many policies besides concealed carry aren’t considered parallel to state law?

If SB176 were to be passed as-is, there’s no telling how dark and deep that “rabbit hole” may go. Anyone who disagrees with a campus policy could challenge its merit based on what state law says. In short, we feel the UA system would be hindered in its ability to craft policies in the best interests of students and in the pursuit of higher learning. What if marijuana is legalized in the state? Would students then be allowed to smoke inside residence halls? Universities may not be able to enforce visiting hours, curfews, segregated living between males and females, and more.

Nothing should take away individuals’ right to protect themselves and we feel all students should feel safe on campus. We support concealed carry on campus, but if university policy infringes on students’ Second Amendment rights, the issue should be addressed head-on, focussing solely on that item. If university students feel unsafe, they should be granted their constitutional right to bear arms. But, that can be done without permanently tying the hands of university leaders through legislation.

SB176 needs to stick to the issue at hand. Students want the University of Alaska to acknowledge their right to carry firearms, and that can be accomplished without stripping the UA Board of Regents of its authority.

 

• Empire editorials are written by the Juneau Empire’s editorial board. Members include: Publisher Rustan Burton, rustan.burton@juneauempire.com; Director of Audience Abby Lowell, abby.lowell@juneauempire.com; Managing Editor Charles L. Westmoreland, charles.westmoreland@juneauempire.com; and Asst. Editor James Brooks, james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com

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