NORMAN, Okla. - Just two hours after University of Oklahoma students received a text alert about a campus shooting, OU President David Boren spoke out against firearms on school grounds.
The former Oklahoma governor, United States senator and longtime OU president spent much of a 17-minute news conference Wednesday afternoon stressing the likelihood that no shooting had occurred and praising the quick response of campus and Norman police.
But when asked about the prospects of arming students and faculty, as some legislators have supported as the rate of school shootings continue to rise, Boren didn't mince words.
"I think the most unwise thing in the world we can do is put guns in the hands of all the people on campus," he said. "I feel such a sense of responsibility to the safety of our students that I am strongly -- I can't say how strongly -- I am opposed to arming people and putting guns in the hands of people who don't have specialized training to respond to this kind of incident."
The 72-year-old Boren went on to say "the greatest protection" is a quick alert system.
A spokeswoman for the State Regents' Campus Safety and Security Task Force, created after 20 children were killed at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012, said the group is staunchly opposed to allowing guns on campus.
"A top priority of this Task Force and of the State Regents’ legislative agenda is maintaining current law prohibiting guns on college campuses," Angela Caddell, the Regents' Interim Director of Communications said following Wednesday's chaos. "We believe there is no scenario in which allowing guns on campuses will do anything other than create a more dangerous environment for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors."
A number of firearms-related bills are expected to be introduced Feb. 3, when Oklahoma's House and Senate legislative sessions begin, including some directed at guns in schools. And like so many written from across the aisle, not all of them appear to be working toward the same goal.
Senate Bill 1753, written by Sen. Jabar Shumate, D-Tulsa, would prohibit anyone from bringing a handgun onto school property regardless of a valid handgun license, even in the transport of students.
House Bill 2887, conversely, would allow college students who have never been involved in a violent incident to carry a licensed handgun.
Tuesday, a 21-year-old teaching assistant was killed at Purdue University. The suspected shooter was taken into custody.
Map of college shootings in the U.S. (http://bit.ly/1hM8wej )