Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, son of the late Moral Majority leader who was the university's founder, has proposed a change to one of the university's policies concerning concealed handgun permits. Starting in the next academic year, students at the school will be able to gain permission from the school to keep guns in their dormitory rooms in safes.
Jessie Pounds writes for The News & Advance that the university's board of trustees voted to allow guns in dorm rooms. This change is the latest in a series of gun policy actions by Liberty, all of which have made carrying guns on campus easier.
In fact, the board voted at a meeting last week to allow Falwell to make changes to the arms policy at his discretion. The president said that he was making the change so that students who have concealed-carry weapons can keep them in their rooms rather than only in their glove compartments.
Falwell added that only 21-year-old students are eligible for a permit, and only a few students who are 21 live on campus. Currently, only about 20 students out of the 200 who live in resident halls and are eligible, actually have permits.
The school will provide safes to store guns for those who want to house their weapons in dorms. The arms must be put in the safe when the person enters the dorm and the guns must be kept in the safe while the students are inside. This summer, deans will determine how the new policy will be enforced.
Liberty, a private Christian school, has the distinction of being the only college in the Lynchburg area to allow concealed weapons on campus, and it is one of the most "gun-friendly" schools in the state of Virginia. The ban on concealed weapons on the grounds was lifted in 2011.
"It was because of what happened just an hour and a half up the road at Virginia Tech," Falwell told students during a convocation on Dec. 9, 2015, explaining why he'd asked the LU board to make the change in 2011. "More than 30 innocent students and facility were just murdered viciously and none of them had the ability to protect themselves.
"From the day that happened, I thought we needed to do something here at Liberty."
But Liberty's new policy is in conflict with recent requests that college and universities campuses be "gun-free zones." Maryland lawmakers mandated the gun-free colleges policy in March, but Maryland's Governor Larry Hogan has not made a decision on the bill, writes Hot Air's Larry O'Connor.
CBS News quoted Falwell:
"I've always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in."
According to ABC News, Liberty University has more than 14,500 residential students. On the university's website, readers are informed of the school's more than 500 programs of study, state-of-the-art technology, and gifted faculty. The site states:
"Liberty University will equip you to enter a competitive job market. Learn, develop, and grow at Liberty so you can impact your culture as a Champion for Christ."