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Students find armed campus unappealing

Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, has introduced legislation in each of the last two sessions of the General Assembly that would allow college students to carry guns on campus. But a new survey by Ball State University shows that students don't want guns on campus.

The survey, of 1,649 undergraduates at 15 Midwestern public universities, found that 78 percent of students oppose concealed handguns on campus. Seventy-nine percent said they would not feel safe if faculty, fellow students and visitors carried guns on campus. Ninety-six percent believe concealed-carry permits should require firearms training.

The guns-on-campus legislation has ties to the National Rifle Association and the American Legislative Exchange Council, the corporate-controlled group that drafts model bills for lawmakers to carry in their respective states. After mass shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, ALEC adopted the "Campus Personal Protection Act," proposed by the NRA. It would allow any concealed carry permit holder to bring guns on college campuses and would prohibit any institution from restricting that right. Banks is a member of Indiana's ALEC delegation.

He told The Journal Gazette last year that he filed the bill because students told him they would feel safer on campus if they could carry guns. Banks wouldn't say whether the ban on guns at the Statehouse should be lifted.