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ODU Vote on Rules for Guns on Campus Put on Hold

By Bill Sizemore - The Virginian-Pilot - December 9, 2011

Old Dominion University's governing board delayed a scheduled vote Thursday on a regulation that would tighten gun restrictions on campus - a proposal that spurred dueling demonstrations by pro- and anti-gun advocates last month.

The regulation was on the agenda at the ODU Board of Visitors' quarterly meeting, but Rector David Bernd said it would be tabled. There was no discussion of the matter by the board.

After the meeting, Bernd said some board members thought the proposal needed more discussion. He said it would probably be taken up at a board retreat in January.

"We just want to take our time and make sure everybody thinks it through," Bernd said.

The regulation would prohibit guns and other weapons, except those carried by police officers, in campus buildings and at sports, entertainment and educational events.

ODU has had a policy banning guns from campus for years, as have most Virginia state colleges and universities.

But Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli ruled in a July opinion that such policies do not apply to guns carried by holders of concealed-weapon permits.

To ban those weapons, Cuccinelli said, universities would have to enact regulations, which have the force of law.

The proposed ODU regulation, drafted in response to Cuccinelli's opinion, is modeled on one at George Mason University that has been upheld as constitutional by the state Supreme Court.

A gun-rights group organized a demonstration against the proposal on campus last month. In response, a gun-control group mounted a simultaneous demonstration supporting it.

Demonstrations also have been held at Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth University, where similar regulations are under consideration.

A shooting incident Thursday at Tech - scene of the nation's deadliest mass shooting in 2007 - left two people dead, including a campus police officer.

Original content from The Virginian-Pilot