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UNCW Police Chief concerned about bill that would allow guns on college campuses

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The Chief of the UNCW Police Department says he is concerned about a bill (HB937) that would let people with conceal and carry permits take their guns onto college campuses, as long as the guns stay locked in their cars.

Recently, the school's chancellor voiced similar concerns.

Chief David Donaldson says he's worried that allowing guns to stay in locked cars would create more threats.

"I think it creates some risks that don't currently exist," said Chief Donaldson.

For example, he says, if weapons are allowed on campuses, even in locked cars, they could fall into the wrong hands too easily. The chief says UNCW had 49 vehicle break-ins in 2012, adding that a criminal fleeing from the scene of a break-in with a stolen handgun would be a serious threat to everyone on campus.

Additionally, the Chief points out that risky behaviors already happen on college and university campuses. He says having handguns nearby only increases the risk.

"I think its only natural that the risk of that occurring increases significantly," said Chief Donaldson. "Not only the idea of someone getting mad and introducing a gun into an argument, but also the fact of the risky and intoxicated behavior already occurs on college campuses."

According to Chief Donaldson, right now, 44 states, including North Carolina, either ban weapons from campuses or allow campuses to decide.

He says after the shooting at Virginia Tech, in 2007, UNC did a comprehensive review of campus safety, they found that it was important to keep guns off campus by keeping the current laws in place.

The chief added that the UNCW Police response time is already under one minute, and does not believe that someone would have time to get a gun out of a locked car during an emergency before police arrive on the scene. 

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