Jun 17, 2011

Media Release

Mothers of Virginia Tech & Northern Illinois University Shooting Massacres Call On Wisconsin Assembly & Governor Walker to Stop 'Guns in Public Places’ Bill

 Moms say, “We reject the notion that many elected officials in Wisconsin believe that allowing the carrying of concealed guns will make campuses safer.”



(June 17, 2011, Madison, WI) – The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus released an open letter to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and members of the State Assembly today from two mothers whose daughters were shot on college campuses at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University.  For the safety and personal security of students, Lori Haas and Mary Kay Mace are urging the Governor and the State Assembly to stop a pending concealed carry firearms’ bill - AB 126 would, in effect, permit the carrying of loaded and deadly handguns onto college campuses in Wisconsin.

Lori Haas's daughter, Emily, survived two gunshots to the head while attending French class at Virginia Tech in April of 2007. Mary Kay Mace's daughter, Ryanne, was a sophomore majoring in Psychology when she was killed at Northern Illinois University in February of 2008, just three months shy of turning 20.  Both mothers have turned to activism in the aftermath of their family tragedies and urge all elected officials to fight against dangerous legislation that would force loaded handguns onto college campuses.

TEXT OF LETTER:

An Open Letter to Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin State Assembly

We are the mothers of students victimized by gun violence on college campuses and are aware that the Wisconsin Senate recently passed legislation to allow the carrying of concealed weapons in public places, including on college campuses.  We reject the notion that allowing concealed carry by university staff and students will make campuses safer places.  Statistically, college campuses have very low crime rates.  What happened at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University remains extremely rare. We have lived the nightmare of what guns on campus can do and we strongly reject the idea that adding more guns into the mix is a safe or sane answer.  It is not!

We have replayed the shooting spree events at both campuses over and over in our heads - more times than anyone can imagine.  For those who survived, it was the most intense, stressful, and chaotic situation ever experienced and not one survivor is advocating for guns on campus; adding more people with more guns would only have made the situation even more dangerous for everyone.  No one can predict their behavior or reaction in dangerous situations.  There is no evidence that armed students would be able to save any lives and, statistically speaking, are more likely to endanger themselves and others in active shooter situations.  Law enforcement officials at every level, including campus police departments, are opposed to concealed carry on campuses.

Allowing concealed carry on campuses in your state would change the entire dynamic in classrooms, make dormitories vulnerable to all manner of accidental and targeted shootings and create dangerous situations at alcohol-fueled student parties.  The movement to allow concealed carry on campuses is an over-reaction to a virtually non-existent problem – college campuses are some of the safest places in our nation.

We implore you, Governor Walker and the Wisconsin State Assembly, to reject this extremist and radical approach, as have states all over America.  In just the last few months, legislation to allow deadly handguns on campus was rejected in places like Arizona, Nevada and Texas.

For the safety of students and professors, and the peace of mind of the parents who will send their kids off to college, we strongly urge you to stop any attempt to put our young people at such grave risks of violence by permitting deadly and loaded handguns on college campuses.

Thank you.

Mary Kay Mace                                                Lori Haas

- END -

Contact:  Andy Pelosi, Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus (914-629-6726) andy@gunfreekids.org

Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus • A project of GunFreeKids.org PO Box 658 • Croton Falls, NY 10519