University of Nebraska faculty oppose ending gun-free zones

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s faculty leadership is opposing a state senator’s proposal to eliminate gun-free zones on college campuses.

The Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1iFng3o ) reports the Faculty Senate said Tuesday that state Sen. Tommy Garrett’s proposal would undermine the ability of institutions to determine their own policies for campus safety.

Garrett has said a Nebraska law prohibiting guns in schools, churches, hospitals, banks, sporting events and on college campuses places more people in danger and should be lifted.

Faculty Senate President John Bender said he plans to testify against the proposal during the state’s upcoming legislative session with a resolution from faculty stating the presence of firearms, except those in the possession of law enforcement, interferes with the ability of faculty to teach and perform research, and students to learn.

Nebraska is one of 19 states that prohibit carrying concealed weapons on college campuses.

Bender, who is also a professor in university’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications, said the Faculty Senate feels the proposal is “genuinely a bad idea.”

David Steffen, a professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said the faculty should not create a battle about gun ownership. He drafted a second resolution that clarifying the faculty’s stance that the school should keep its freedom to put policies in place that they feel enhance the safety of the institution and reflect institutional needs.

Steffen said, “It should be, our campus has a policy that works for us, (the University of Nebraska at) Kearney can have a policy that works for them, high schools can have policies that work for them.”

The Faculty Senate will vote on the resolution, which is likely to be amended, in December.

The senator’s bill is likely to be introduced in the judiciary committee.

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