VIRGINIA

Liberty University board loosens firearms policy

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) - Liberty University's Board of Trustees has loosened the school's weapons policy to allow firearms inside all campus facilities except dormitories.

The university previously allowed guns on campus but not inside buildings. The revised policy, which was unanimously approve by the board, went into effect March 22.

"I think it's good that Liberty is a little more open than some schools, and I think it'll continue to create a higher level of security on campus than what was found at Virginia Tech" during the time of the fatal shootings in 2007, Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. told The News & Advance.

"I think it's a positive thing for security that there's at least a chance that somebody responsible will be carrying a firearm when something like that happens."

People who want to carry a concealed weapon on campus must apply with the Liberty University Police Department. It's unclear how many people have permission to carry concealed weapons on campus.

Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus spokesman John Johnson said more guns are not the answer to gun violence.

"A student with a concealed weapon is unlikely to prevent a mass shooting or crime. On the other hand, the unintended consequences of gun possession by students and others - a shooting during an argument or dispute, attempted suicide, unintentional shooting, etc. - are real and make the college campus more dangerous every hour of every day," Johnson told the newspaper.

Liberty senior Craig Storrs expects the number of students seeking permission to carry concealed weapons to increase significantly.

"I think it's a fantastic idea, and I applaud the university for making this decision despite all the political pressure to restrict firearm ownership and carrying," said Storrs, who was among the students who petition for the policy revision.

"In my opinion, it makes it safer, and it will prevent an event like Virginia Tech from happening here on campus," Storrs said. "This just enhances the policy."

The change also is supported by Students for Concealed Carry, a national organization that advocates for the rights of concealed handgun license holders.

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