It's a rare event when 170 University Presidents agree on something within four days. But, Illinois Wesleyan University President Richard Wilson says he and more than that number of colleagues have signed an open letter calling on the President and Congress to take action on gun control now. The move in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings, Wilson says, also has significance because Illinois must soon craft a concealed carry law.
"I just can't imagine living and working in an environment where we know that there are handguns in residence halls and handguns in classrooms and I just to not think that contributes to the quality of the educational experience."
Wilson says he will work to make campuses exceptions to whatever concealed carry measure Illinois develops. He says young men and women use the college experience to learn how to make decisions on their own for the first time and adding weapons to the mix complicates that task.and endangers people. He says he has a special nightmare about it.
"Someone pulls out a handgun in a classroom and other students pull out handguns to defend themselves and the police walk in the classroom. How do they know who is the perpetrator? It just escalates the whole situation to the point that it becomes very difficult."
The letter notes that of the 23 wealthiest countries, the U.S. accounts for 80% of gun deaths and 87% of child firearm deaths. The University Presidents want consumer safety standards, an assault weapon ban, limits on the capacity of ammunition clips, and an end to the gun show loophole that lets weapons buyers get out of criminal background checks.
Hear the entire interview with the IWU President.
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