Five months after the Virginia Tech massacre, some of the few remaining universities that do not permit campus police to carry guns are rethinking the bans, says USA Today. The April 16 tragedy prompted a national reassessment of campus security plans. “There are police forces that have the responsibility to make life and safety decisions, and they don’t have the full equipment to do it,” says Raymond Thrower Jr., president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. “It’s like giving a firefighter a car and telling him to go put out the fire without the truck and the rest of the equipment.”
Many public universities already have armed police, says the Justice Department, which will issue a new report on campus police agencies in November. In 1996, the department’s found 81 percent of public universities had armed police. It expects to see a slight increase this year. This week, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, a 1988 Virginia Tech graduate, endorsed a recommendation to arm officers at the state’s three public universities, which serve more than 50,000 students. Nevada education officials next month plan to take up a proposal to allow some college faculty members and staffers across eight campuses to carry guns as part of a special reserve officer corps. Brian Reaves, author of the new Justice Department report, says a few large campus agencies remain unarmed. “You would think that after Virginia Tech, it would be a slam-dunk argument,” Reaves says.