The jury’s finding Wednesday that Virginia Tech was negligent in its reaction to a campus gunman who killed 33 people, including himself, in 2007 could play into the politics of a growing movement to allow college students to arm themselves on campus, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Families were awarded $8 million after the jury found the university waited too long to notify students that a gunman, who turned out to be a student named Seung Hui-Cho, was walking the campus.
The verdict is a point that gun-rights groups say they’ll pick up and use to argue for states to allow legal gun carry on college campuses. “It’s hard to tell what implications this ruling will have on colleges in the rest of the nation, but I think it does serve to put them on notice that they are liable for student safety,” says David Burnett, spokesman for Students for Concealed Carry, a group founded after the Virginia Tech shooting. “I think it will make it easier for us to point to these financial penalties and say, ‘Virginia Tech may be able to assume those liabilities, but can you as a college afford to spend $100,000 per victim if, heaven forbid, you’re the target of the next shooting?’ “