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Thread: Open Holster Protest in NC

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    Jul 2008
    Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

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    NCSU students want to pack heat on campus

    Posted: Feb. 10 6:07 p.m.
    Updated: Feb. 10 8:45 p.m.

    Raleigh, N.C. — Some North Carolina State University students are wearing empty gun holsters on campus this week to protest a state law prohibiting them from carrying concealed weapons on campus.
    "Everyone should be given a right to defend themselves no matter where they are," said Daryl Johnson, a member of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, a national group that gained attention in the wake of the massacre of 32 students on the Virginia Tech campus in April 2007.
    "We are just trying to show that we are law-abiding citizens. We carry off campus, or we support carrying off campus," Johnson said.
    Nearly 128,000 concealed carry permits have been issued in North Carolina since 1995, including 8,300 in Wake County, according to the State Bureau of Investigation.
    About 20 members of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus are taking part in the empty holster protest this week, he said. Similar protests are expected on other college campuses in North and South Carolina and Virginia, he said.
    Chief Tom Younce of the N.C. State campus police said he disagrees with the effort to pack heat on campus, but he said his officers won't interfere with the protest.
    "We're a very close-knit organization, the university is. You've got about 8,000 to 9,000 students living close on campus – in dorm rooms – (and) I don't think it's a good idea (to allow concealed weapons)," Younce said.
    Any changes to the rules would have to come from state lawmakers.
    "I believe that the more people you see with a weapon, the more acceptable it's going to be. It's not going to have that stigma that, 'Oh my gosh, it's bad,'" Johnson said.
    Holster-packin' students protest

    Across U.S., 29,000 back right to carry gun at college

    CHAPEL HILL -- The holster attached to Jason Blatt's hip all this week is small, black and innocuous.
    It is also empty. Blatt, 23, is a second-year medical school student at UNC-Chapel Hill, and though he is licensed to carry a concealed weapon in most places in North Carolina, state law keeps him from doing so on any college campus.
    By wearing empty holsters this week, Blatt and 29,000 other college students across the country are making public their belief that such prohibitions are misguided. It is the second such protest organized by Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, which has about 25 members at UNC-CH and about 300 at N.C. State. Blatt is UNC-CH's delegate to the national organization.

    "I can carry almost anywhere in the state," said Blatt, a Hendersonville native and graduate of Vanderbilt University. "But if I walk across Franklin [Street] onto campus, I'm committing a felony."
    Blatt was reared by parents he describes as "moderately anti-gun." Still, his father taught him about gun safety and responsibility early on. Blatt owns several guns, which he uses for target and sport shooting. He carries a concealed handgun much of the time when he isn't on campus, but occasionally he runs home and leaves it if he's headed for a bar, movie theater, or other public place where concealing a gun is against the law.
    When he does carry his Kahr P40 pocket pistol, it is tucked in a holster in his waistband, further concealed by clothing. If someone asks about it, he deflects the question. He never shows it off. Yosemite Sam, he is not.
    Blatt understands that many folks reflexively fear guns and, by extension, gun owners. But his essential argument is this: Properly licensed, responsible gun owners who follow the rules aren't the dangerous ones. "Someone interested in shooting up the place isn't worried about getting expelled or ending up in jail," he said.
    The holster Blatt has worn this week looks like a cell phone holder. Still, he has gotten a few questions around campus. When asked, he produces a data-heavy fact sheet pleading his organization's case.
    In the United States, just 11 universities allow concealed firearms on campus -- Utah's nine public institutions, a Virginia community college and Colorado State University, Blatt said.
    On college campuses, officials often say they support current law because guns can present danger and because even knowledgeable, licensed gun owners aren't trained for a violent, tense situation where the use of force is necessary.
    "Any good that would come would be outweighed by the potential for bad," said Randy Young, a spokesman for UNC-CH's public safety office.
    Blatt acknowledges he doesn't know how he would react in a worst-case scenario such as the Virginia Tech massacre. But he knows he'd be essentially helpless without a gun.
    "It would at least increase my odds for survival," he said.

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