MSU trustees restrict concealed carry on campus in wake of mass shooting

Michigan State University's Board of Trustees voted 5-2 in favor of closing a loophole that granted concealed carry on campus to members of the public.

Trustee Dan Kelly, the only Republican on the board, voted against the amendment, claiming it would target lawful gun owners.

A public university in Michigan is electing to cram down on gun rights as a result of a February campus shooting by a man who had no affiliation with the school.

On Sept. 8, Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees voted to amend its weapons policy in order to effectively ban concealed carry on campus.

“The board’s amendment fortifies existing gun-safety measures by allowing only certified law enforcement officers and those with an approved educational or research purpose to possess a firearm on university grounds,” the board announced.

The measure passed in a 5-2 vote, with Democrat board chair Remar Vassar and lone Republican trustee Dan Kelly opposing the measure.

[RELATED: Michigan Court of Appeals upholds ban on campus carry]

According to Michigan Advance, the school’s previous policy had restricted students and staff from carrying firearms on campus, but a loophole in the MSU guidelines technically permitted members of the public to carry on school grounds. 

Under the rule change, only police officers and campus security personnel may now possess firearms. The new policy also allows an exemption for those who are legally authorized to carry when driving on a university road, so long as they remain in the vehicle.

“We see this amendment as a necessary action in our ongoing effort to create a safer environment for Spartans to learn and live, and to ensure those visiting our campuses adhere to the same requirements we set forward for students and employees,” Interim MSU President Teresa Woodruff stated after the board’s announcement.

Campus Reform contacted Michigan State Vice President of Media and Public Information Emily Guerrant about the constitutionality of the new firearm guidelines.

“Given the Michigan Court of Appeals ruling in June of this year, allowing public university’s [sic] to prohibit guns on campus, we do feel the recent decision by the MSU Board of Trustees is allowable,” she said.

“Campuses fall under the category of ‘sensitive’ places and we can restrict guns from being in our academic buildings, in our residence halls, in large stadiums and also in public, open spaces,” she continued.

Guerrant, however, did not respond to questions regarding the logistics of how this rule will be enforced.

[RELATED: UMich agrees to support ‘unarmed, non-police emergency response program’ per union demands]

The policy change comes in response to a campus shooting on Feb. 13 that left three students dead. The shooter seemingly had no ties to MSU.

Campus Reform spoke with MSU College Republicans President Zachary Friedman, who agreed with trustee Kelly’s view that the new policy will only harm law-abiding citizens.

“Absolutely, I think it’s a bad idea,” Friedman said. “Gun free zones account for 98% of mass shootings. [Concealed pistol license] holders are also one of the most law abiding demographics of US citizens and to remove the right to defend themself is both unconstitutional and unethical,” Friedman told Campus Reform.

“Firearms are used defensively anywhere from 500,000-2,000,000 times to stop active crimes according to the CDC. Criminals are inherently rule breaking meaning that this new rule is not going to change anything other than take away the right for law abiding citizens to defend themselves,” he concluded.

Campus Reform contacted the MSU Board of Trustees for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.