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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Faculty advocating against House bill

Some faculty members are concerned about email harassment after their emails concerning House Bill 48 were posted on a pro-gun website.

The bill, primarily sponsored by Ohio representative Ron Maag, would lawfully allow gun permit holders to carry a firearm into “certain vulnerable areas,” according to the House Bill summary from The Ohio Legislature’s official website.

Vulnerable areas would include day-care facilities, public areas of airport terminals and police stations, certain government facilities and school safety zones, along with higher education institutions.

On Nov. 17, the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 48 63-25, which will move onto the Ohio Senate.

Faculty members at the University have publicly spoken out against the moving of legislature to the Senate floor through a faculty list serve, prompting multiple emails to Ohio District 3 Rep. Tim Brown.

Through a public records request from Tim Brown’s office, a pro-gun lobbying site called Buckeye Firearms Association posted the faculty’s personal information that included names and University emails.

After posting this information, BFA said, “While these people have every right to have their own opinions on this issue, they are wrong to make use of university resources in order to influence this or any other legislation.”

James Evans, a geology professor at the University, was heavily quoted in the article.

Evans said it was his professional obligation to speak out to his district representative, regardless of his position on the bill.

“What the Buckeye Firearms Association did was misrepresentation because (they) implied that I presented my views in some way connected to my employment with the University,” he said. “I did not, I was acting as a private citizen.”

The BFA attached an email from Evans speaking with Tim Brown that said, “When are you and the rest going to admit the unbelievable conflict-of-interest you have because of campaign donations from the NRA, a murderous terrorist organization that is a threat to the national security?”

Evans said the emails were part a series of emails sent back and forth to the representative’s office, and he was not pleased with the prior responses.

“I became frustrated,” he said. “(After) Tim Brown apologized to me and he admitted it was a mistake to allow the public release to happen, and said they were taking necessary measures to prevent it from happening again.”

Universities will still be able to decide whether or not concealed carry weapons will be allowed on their campuses.

While the University will have to decide how House Bill 48 could change their concealed carry requirements, so will surrounding Ohio universities.

Jerry Falwell Jr., Liberty University president, said concealed weapons on campus will be good to counter any terrorism attacks.

Falwell Jr. said in an interview with Fox News, “Let’s teach (those Muslims) a lesson if they ever show here.”

According to the Ohio Attorney General’s official website, Ohio law requires all that are interested in concealed carry must show “proof of competency certification” and obtain a concealed carry license within 10 days.

This certification can be provided by safety courses provided by a national gun organization, a class provided by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission, a document showing active or retired duty from the armed forces or a completion of a class instructed by a certified official of Ohio.

Under current Ohio law, students or faculty are not allowed to carry firearms into educational buildings even with a concealed carry permit.

Evans said the Senate should ask how serious this bill would be to correct safety in high-tension spaces.

“It’s hard to see this solving a problem, this is making a problem,” he said.

Editor’s Note: This article is the first part of a two-part series. Look for the second part in our first issue after winter break.

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