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Proposed Bill Could Allow Guns on College Campuses - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Proposed Bill Could Allow Guns on College Campuses

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A bill that would possibly allow guns to be carried on college campuses could stir up discussion in Richmond next year.

Lobbyists say it would keep students safer, but Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds says it's a decision best left to school leaders.

The State Agency Preemption Bill would allow the General Assembly to set firearm regulations for state agencies, including universities. Right now, boards of visitors at those institutions make the rules.

At the University of Virginia, policies allow only police and a few other approved groups to carry a weapon.  Deeds supports gun rights, but says decisions like this should be made by university leaders, not legislators.

"I've not been willing in the past to override the authority of boards of visitors of colleges and universities to make decisions about firearms on those campuses," said Deeds.

Bill supporters disagree. They argue legal uniformity will do more to keep students safe.

"To protect the rights of those students when it comes to self defense, yes I trust the General Assembly, I do not trust the universities," said Virginia Citizen's Defense League President Philip Van Cleave.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League says this is one of the highest priority items for them heading into this General Assembly session.

Last General Assembly session, a number of controversial gun rights bills stirred up political controversy in Richmond.

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