This fall marked the first semester students have been allowed to have guns and other weapons in their vehicles on campus. After the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that public universities couldn’t ban guns from cars on campus, WKU had to change its policy.
Prior to July 27, students were not allowed to have guns on campus in any capacity. The new policy allows students with valid concealed carry licenses to keep weapons in their cars, in plain sight.
Students who don’t have licenses may still have the weapons in their cars and campus lots but must keep them in a concealed vehicle-manufactured location such as a glove compartment, center console or seat pocket, according to the policy.
This is where Georgetown junior JD Biddle keeps his handgun.
Biddle said while he waits for his concealed carry license to arrive he keeps his guns out of sight. He said he keeps the handgun in his car for self-defense.
“I’ve been in some real situations,” he said. “I feel like it’s better to have it and not need it.”
He said although these situations have not turned violent, he was glad he was prepared. Biddle said he has completed concealed carry and National Rifle Association classes that make him feel well-equipped to handle a gun.
“You want to de-escalate the situation,” he said. “You don’t just pull guns on people. They taught me what’s acceptable and what’s not and how to stay within the law.”
Biddle said although he wants to follow the law, he kept his gun in his car before the policy changed and felt that he had a right to.
“I really believe in the right to bear arms,” he said. “I wasn’t showing it off. A firearm is just a tool. Educate yourself and handle them safely.”
Biddle doubts the policy changed student behavior much. Students who want to keep a gun in their car probably already did, he said.
Bowling Green sophomore Gabe Baker said he also kept his gun in his truck before the policy changed.
“I’m not going to shoot anybody with it,” he said of the hunting rifle he’s kept in his backseat since high school.
Baker has never felt the need to defend himself with a gun on campus. He said his gun is strictly for sport.
“You never know when someone will invite you to go hunting after class,” he said.
Starting with his first .22 rifle called a “chipmunk,” hunting and gun education became a tradition in Baker’s family.
“It can teach you how to be quiet and listen,” he said. “It instills the past in the future. And it teaches you responsibility.”
Los Angeles junior Krystin Avakian said although she’s not against owning a gun, she believes the presence of guns on campus will lead to more violence.
Avakian said she doesn’t feel the need to have a gun on campus. Her pepper spray is enough.
“I don’t think I would be able to shoot anyone anyway,” she said.
Because she does not own a car, Avakian is not allowed to have a gun on campus. Although this doesn’t bother her, she doesn’t think it’s fair.
As a transfer student from Glendale Community College in Glendale, Calif., she said she feels safer in Bowling Green in some ways.
“You need to be careful wherever you are,” she said.