Danko calls for gun safety

Butler University President Jim Danko signed an open letter along with other university presidents to policy leaders that calls for discussion about gun safety.

The letter can be found at collegepresidentsforgunsafety.org and boasts more than 300 other college and university presidents’ signatures.

“We are college and university presidents,” the open letter reads. “We are parents. We are Republicans, Democrats and Independents. We urge both our President and Congress to take action on gun control now.

“As a group, we do not oppose gun ownership. But, in many of our states, legislation has been introduced or passed that would allow gun possession on college campuses. We oppose such laws.

“We fully understand that reasonable gun safety legislation will not prevent every future murder. Identification and treatment of the mental health issues that lie beneath so many of the mass murders to which we increasingly bear witness must also be addressed.”

Ben Hunter, chief of staff, spoke on behalf of Danko over the phone and said this open letter is one of three Danko was asked to sign.

“This one seemed to meet our position,” Hunter said, “by wanting a civil discussion and being open-minded following the recent tragedies.”

Hunter also said Butler is not taking a political stance.

Assistant police chief Bill Weber said he loves the idea of open discussion.

“If someone is completely polar opposite of the way I feel, I want to hear what they have to say,” Weber said, “because maybe they’ll say something where I’m like, ‘I’ve never thought of that before.’”

The letter was drafted by presidents Lawrence Schall from Oglethorpe University and Elizabeth Kiss from Agnes Scott College. It has an option for all readers to sign the letter.

The shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., renewed the attention on gun control across the United States.

Concealed-carry laws on college campuses vary by state.

In 23 states, the decision is left to the school while 21 states have laws outright banning concealed weapons.

Legislation in Indiana could allow college students to carry guns on campus. Since Butler is a private institution those laws would not have an impact.

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