Brenau University President Ed Schrader joined 30 other college and university presidents in Washington, DC on Monday to collectively urge Congress and other lawmaking bodies to take “common sense” action of gun legislation and regulation that will enhance safety on their campuses.
The group is part of about 350 college presidents who have come together through College Presidents for Gun Safety, as well as members of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities on behalf of that organization’s 60 U.S. university members, to sign a letter calling for political leaders to take concrete steps to prevent gun violence.
Although Schrader said he generally supports “limited constraints that should be logically applied to gun ownership,” such as passing a background check before purchase and limiting the number of ammunition rounds that a semi-automatic weapon can hold, he opposes legislation that has been proposed in Georgia and other states that would prohibit private colleges and universities, such as Brenau, from restricting guns on their campuses.
The presidents’ group represents a diversity of opinions and ideas on how public officials should address the gun issues under deliberation, said Schrader. “We do, however, share one central, all-consuming concern: the safety of our students.”
“Colleges should be able to exercise this utmost concern for student safety and ban the carrying or transportation of firearms onto their private property,” Schrader said. “I believe that private colleges (or any private establishment, for that matter) on private property should not be forced by a capricious law to allow any person passing onto their campus to carry or transport a gun. It should be the right of the property owner and business owner to declare the establishment as a ‘no carry’ zone relative to firearms.”
The 31 presidents, along with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and leaders from the United States Student Association, International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, have made it clear that they oppose any action that will result in more guns on campus. The group in Washington Monday endorsed common sense gun reform legislation that will require gun buyers to pass a criminal background check, take military-style assault weapons and magazines off the streets and make gun trafficking a federal crime.
“The opportunity to go to college is a pillar of the American Dream, but guns and violence have cut short that dream for too many of our students.” said Duncan. “Outside of trained law enforcement officers, guns have no place in our schools or on our campuses. Now is the time to act, so students can learn free from fear.”