Students at Catholic University fight for campus gun rights

A group of students at Catholic University is fighting for their right to carry registered guns on campus. Their message is simple: it's their Second Amendment right.

The Student Association General Assembly passed a resolution 16-11 asking the university to amend the campus firearms ban. But the administration said not so fast. The resolution isn't binding.

That doesn't sit well with junior class delegate Kevin Freile, an avid hunter.

"We could leave shotgun shells in our cars and we wouldn't know about it," said Freile. "And when we come on campus, we're violating school policy and we could be expelled."

He and delegate Matt Hanrahan co-sponsored the resolution in support of student gun rights, but for different reasons. Hanrahan grew up 15 minutes from the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

"We live in an area where anybody can come onto our campus and they might not have the best intention," said Hanrahan.

In a statement a university spokesman tells FOX 5, "The Catholic University of America does not have any plans to change or to consider changing the Code of Student Conduct to accommodate students who might wish to carry firearms on campus."

Some students believe the university is doing the right thing by keeping guns off campus.

"I think in the end, that's a good policy for the students and for the safety of the students," said Nathaniel Sebastian, a sophomore at Catholic University.

Opponents of guns on campus don't believe there is a need and that the safest campus is one with no guns at all.

"The security we have on campus is excellent so we don't really need [them]. Why would we need guns on campus?" said Frankie Burgess, a foreign exchange student.

Campus police do not carry guns. Hanrahan tried to change that last year, but his resolution failed after the university police made it clear that would not happen.

If students can get a permit under D.C.'s restrictive gun laws, gun rights supporters believe they should be allowed to protect themselves.

"Just two weeks ago, there were gunshots just two blocks from our university," said Freile. "Just last night, there was an armed robbery just two minutes from where we are standing right now where CUA students were in the store and held at gunpoint."

Transfer student Brandon Tully attended the University of Alabama before coming to Catholic University. He says guns were allowed on campus, but like many universities that do, students were required to keep them locked up with campus police -- not in their dorms. He believes it is his right.

"It's definitely a protection against a lot of the bad stuff out there, and unfortunately it's out there," Tully said.

Passing the student carry resolution was meant to open a dialogue with the university about the school's gun policies.

The two delegates continue to speak with administrators about the issue, but the university has not initiated any broader campus discussion. Until there is more pressure or something bad happens, they are not sure the university will listen.

"We don't want to be saying we could have done something," said Hanrahan. "We want to say we did something and it's been prevented. We need to protect our students on campus."

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