A small college campus in Virginia is drawing fire after it denied a student’s request to form a gun rights club at the school, due to concerns that the group might seek to change the campus’s rules on concealed carry.
According to Campus Reform, Patrick Winslow, a student at ECPI University’s Virginia Beach campus, wanted to create a gun rights club on campus to discuss “the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, federal and state laws regarding gun control and gun laws and so forth.”
That goal wasn’t enough for the school’s Campus Director of Academic Affairs William Salice, who said last week the school would not accept Winslow’s club application. Salice said the club was rejected as it “does not correlate to program enhancement or community service.”
That rejection has roused the ire of gun activists in the Old Dominion, including the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a pro-gun organization that promotes the right to carry guns on college campuses.
“It’s a group that would be meeting and talking about the Constitution, the Second Amendment and so forth, and they basically said that’s not a public service,” said VCDL president Philip Van Cleave. He added that he thought a gun rights club would be in line with the school’s criminal justice degree programs.
The school’s president, Mark Dreyfus, says he wasn’t aware of the club application until complaints started to come in regarding its rejection, but he was quick to attribute the furor to a big misunderstanding.
“He wanted to start a club with the intent, expressed intent, with changing our policy on the carry law at the institution,” said Dreyfus. Concealed carry on college campuses is not regulated by Virginia law, so all schools have the power to set their own concealed carry policies allowing or prohibiting guns on campus.
Winslow told WAVY, a local news source, that he plans to reapply for recognition following the outcry after reconfiguring his application.
ECPI currently has a variety of clubs at its Virginia Beach campus, including a gaming club, physics club, academic honor society, and a student veterans association.
ECPI is a for-profit school with campuses in Virginia and the Carolinas that offers both 2- and 4-year degrees in fields such as criminal justice, health sciences, and computer and information science.