Students for Concealed Carry sues Ohio State over campus firearms ban

OSU currently bans "possession of deadly weapons" on university property and at official university functions.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs says that students who are known to have concealed carry permits are often discriminated against by local police.

Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) and Ohioans for Concealed Carry (OCC) have filed a lawsuit against Ohio State University (OSU) to challenge its policy of banning firearms on campus, Campus Reform has learned.

Currently, OSU bans “possession of deadly weapons” on university property and at official university functions.

But Michael R. Moran, a Columbus attorney in the case, told Campus Reform that OSU is “flagrantly violating state law and violating fundamental Constitutional rights.”

“[OSU] is an influential center, not just for the state of Ohio but for the United States,” he said in an interview on Monday.

“Any time such a revered institution is so flagrantly violating state law and violating fundamental ... Constitutional rights for the defense and security of oneself, I think that it’s important [to address],” he said.

The complaint states that the right to bear arms—openly or concealed—is a “fundamental individual right” and a “constitutionally protected right in every part of Ohio.”

“Except as specifically provided by the United States Constitution, Ohio Constitution, state law, or federal law, a person, without further license, permission, restriction, delay, or process, may own, possess, purchase, sell, transfer, transport, store, or keep any firearm, part of a firearm, its components, and its ammunition,” it states.

Students who violate the policy “will be subject to the University's disciplinary procedures and/or referral to the appropriate authorities for legal prosecution.”

Moran said that students who are known to have concealed carry permits are often discriminated against by area police.

“We’re aware of evidence and cases where … being known to have a handgun license is enough to be stopped or questioned by police there,” he said. “That’s as wrong as somebody freely exercising their religion or right of free speech.”

Even if students do not face legal repercussions, he said, the effects of being disciplined by the school for violating its weapons policy can have a lasting consequences.

“Some will be fired from their job or kicked out of school … it can prevent you from completing a degree, it can also prevent you from transferring to another school, obtaining a graduate degree … [or be] a problem in any kind of government background check.”

According to a press release published by the plaintiffs Monday, the right to have firearms is particularly important on the OSU campus because University District is “historically a high crime area,” and therefore the ban leaves students “vulnerable to violent crime.”

But at a town hall meeting on March 27, 2012, President Emeritus E. Gordon Gee stated that allowing weapons on campus was out of the question.

“I’m in charge and we’re not going to do it,” he said, according to an article published in April 2012 in The Lantern, the official student newspaper.

“I have looked at these issues very, very carefully, it is not in the interest of a great university whereabouts, the ideas of allowing guns,” he continued.

In addition to guns and ammunition, the school’s weapons policy also bans slingshots, knives with blades longer than three inches — including “knives used for cooking or dining” — stilettos, “martial arts weapons,” bows and arrows that are not designated for a college class, swords, fireworks, and metallic knuckles.

The lawsuit was filed Sunday and a court date has been set for July 14, 2015.

OSU has yet to respond to the suit.

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