The group Students for Concealed Carry, with the help of an IU Southeast student, has scheduled an empty holster demonstration on Tuesday, April 11 to raise awareness for safety issues on campus.
Drew Appel, criminal justice junior and the demonstration’s organizer, said the event is a chance to voice to students and the administration at IU Southeast how ill-equipped the people on campus would be if they had to defend themselves from an armed assailant, especially one who might be determined to take lives.
“Having our university take the position of being a ‘gun-free zone,’ would grant violent criminals a peace of mind, should they decide to use our campus to execute their murderous rampage,” Appel said.
Appel said he is one of many citizens across the country with a current belief the Second Amendment is in need of defending.
“Here in Indiana I know that my home is my castle and can be defended as such,” he said. “The rights afforded to me by the Second Amendment allow me to walk down the street knowing that I will be able to meet violence with violence on a level playing field, should the need arise.”
In order to obtain a permit to carry, he said, one would need to go to the local sheriff or police station and have a permit issued through the state police.
A laundry list of requirements must also be satisfied, such as the individual being at least 21 years of age and maintaining a record free of violence or domestic charges.
The group Students for Concealed Carry will lend support to the event, and actually suggested the idea of the empty holster demonstration.
According to their website, http://www.concealedcampus.org, the group is a student-run, national, non-partisan organization.
The group advocates for the legal and concealed carrying of firearms on college campuses in the United States as an effective means for self-defense.
While the date of the event is tentative and in its final stages of planning, the demonstration comes during a time when the Second Amendment has become a heavily-debated subject across the country and college campuses alike due to the proposition of Senate Bill 97.
Indiana Sen. Jim Banks, a republican from Columbia City, wants to pass the bill, which would allow college students to carry guns around campus, because it, he said, would help protect women from sexual assault.
Banks proposed Senate Bill 97 in January and it is currently under review by the Committee on Rules.
The bill would prevent any state-leased property, such as a college or university, from controlling the possession or transportation of firearms, ammunition or firearm accessories.
If approved, the bill could go into effect as early as July 2013.
Appel said he has discussed the particulars of the demonstration with the Campus Life and has received permission.
Seuth Chaleunphonh, dean of Student Life, said Appel is completely in his right to engage in a peaceful protest and voice his opinions.
He said the demonstration is different from a normal event, where a student group must obtain university approval in order to proceed.
“Mr. Appel was referred to the IUS Police Department due to the nature of his proposed demonstration as a courtesy to the university in order to maintain peace and safety for all,” he said.
IUS Police Chief Charlie Edelen said he would feel extremely unsafe if students were allowed to carry weapons, but otherwise considers the demonstration legal.
“The police are on campus for a reason,” Edelen said. “If students tried to police themselves it would be a very bad idea.”
Appel said the event is less about food or fun and more about the chance for the student body to show their discontent with their current level of security on campus.
“I would expect a wide range of participants from across campus at the demonstration,” he said, “all with a similar concern for safety and the policies involved. I would expect to see fliers up soon outside of the Campus Life office.”
Students interested in participating in the event should contact Appel for more information.
By BRETT HANCOCK