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Change Allows Concealed Weapons On Campus

10:26 PM, May 17, 2013   |    comments
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(WUSA9) -- Beyond the headlines and hysteria, in rural Pennsylvania, Kutztown has been thrust into the national spotlight.

"Now we're stuck in the middle of a national gun debate that we didn't ask for," Kevin Mahoney, Assoc Prof of English said.

Kutztown University, with its 10,000 students, is now a campus divided.

"Why do you need guns at school? School is supposed to be somewhere you can be safe," said Leakia Thomas, student.

"I do feel a little safer knowing that there's somebody here, trained with a gun that can stop a madman before the police show up," a student said. 

Another student said, "I'm a pro-gun individual but I do believe there are some instances where guns should be prohibited and I think an educational setting like this is one of those circumstances."

A student who carries a gun says, "Let's just say everywhere that I'm legally able to carry a firearm, I do so."

Now, when students like Robert Fallstich slings his backpack over his shoulder, he's carrying more than books. He's packing a Smith and Wesson.

Why?

"Because it's my constitutional right as an American. It's my right as a Pennsylvanian. And realistically, the best way to defend yourself effectively is with a firearm because it is the great equalizer of force," Fallstich said.

Kutztown is one of seven state-owned universities to adopt the gun policy. All weapons must be legally registered. The permit holder must be 21.

The policy allows gun owners to carry concealed weapons outdoors or in their cars, but not in academic buildings, residence halls or at school athletic events.

If you can't bring it into the buildings or bring it out of your car, what's the point of having them?

"To say that it's gonna be an issue and oh no, we're gonna have Wild West style shootouts on the campus, that's erroneous and even laughable," Fallstich said.

"When things get polarized, they get dangerous," Mahoney said.

A polarized campus may be the least of their worries. The sudden gun debate has led to some mysterious threats against a faculty member.

"The first note said 'Drop the gun issue or else," Mahoney said.

There was a second note under his door.

"It says what do you fear more, 'Guns or death?" he said.

Kutztown is not alone. Other public institutions have made similar moves to abide by the law, and comply with the Second Amendment.

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