http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?P ... 0917a.html Student Group Wants Campus Gun Ban Lifted By Christine Hall CNSNews.com Staff Writer September 17, 2002 (CNSNews.com) - After two armed southwest Virginia law students stopped a campus shooting rampage in January, a Second Amendment group at a northern Virginia law school decided it was time to change their own school's ban on guns. "We are trying to build a detailed and persuasive brief that would include statistics on increases in safety, decreases in violent crime when you do have concealed carry permit holders in a jurisdiction," said Orest J. Jowyk, president of the Second Amendment group at George Mason University School of Law. "I think the middle ground is to allow concealed handgun permit holders to carry just like they can anywhere else in Virginia," he said. "You provide extra safety to the student body that way." Jowyk began researching his law school's gun policy following the January incident in which a disgruntled student at Appalachian Law School, Peter Odighizuwa, allegedly shot and killed the school's dean, a professor and a student on campus before being subdued by two armed students, Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges. Gross and Bridges reportedly ran to their cars to fetch their own guns and returned to confront Odighizuwa, who surrendered after allegedly initiating a fistfight. Jowyk was heartened by the students' intervention. But looking into GMU's gun policy, Jowyk found to his dismay that the school's board of visitors had in 1995 passed a ban on all weapons, concealed or otherwise, except by law enforcement officials. Anyone who violates the school's gun ban would face administrative repercussions but not criminal charges, according to Jowyk. Then in April, Virginia's Democratic governor, Mark Warner, signed a law prohibiting local governments from using administrative rules to pass gun restrictions that go beyond existing state law. Jowyk's Second Amendment group is now investigating how that law might apply to GMU, though the group has not yet approached school administrators about changing the policy. "There is a question that's being bandied about in the Commonwealth whether or not this university qualifies under that law as a locality," said Mike Lynch, chief of police for GMU law school's police department. "Today, I don't think we have the answer." If that legal question is eventually resolved in the school's favor, Lynch says he will likely recommend that the weapons ban continue. "The more people that have guns...on them, it is my opinion that that would increase the propensity for somebody getting hurt," either through accident or mischief, said Lynch. "And I don't want to see that." But the controversy surrounding gun bans on state colleges and universities isn't limited to Virginia. In January, the Utah legislature launched an inquiry into the University of Utah's 25-year-old gun ban after state Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said state laws on concealed weapons prohibited agencies and schools from banning them from state property. "We need to have the right to exclude weapons on campus," University of Utah President Bernie Machen testified to legislators, describing the decision as a matter of academic freedom. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," he said. Machen has also argued that the ban fosters a safe learning environment. On March 6, the Utah Senate passed a GOP-sponsored bill allowing the legislature to cut in half the school's administration budget if the gun ban continues. The university responded two weeks later by initiating a court challenge, asking a U.S. District Court judge to uphold the school's gun ban. Also in March, Ohio University's 2000 "workforce violence policy" prohibiting any carrying or displaying of weapons became the subject of controversy when a journalism professor was directed to remove a Civil War-era gun he had displayed on his wall for more than a decade. University administrators reportedly are re-evaluating the policy. "I feel like I've really been fingered as a dangerous person," Patrick Washburn told the University Wire.