Liberty University to permit guns in student dorms

The president of Christian-based Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., told students on Wednesday that he will reverse a longstanding policy and permit guns in student dorms, according to a local media.

Falwell said with more concealed carry permits 'we could end those Muslims,' referring to militants

Students pray during an event at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., on Sept. 14 that included a speech by U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. (Jay Paul/Reuters)

The president of Christian-based Liberty University in Virginia told students on Wednesday that he will reverse a longstanding policy and permit guns in student dorms, according to a local media.

In a speech following the shooting attacks in San Bernardino, California, Jerry Falwell Jr made national headlines last week when he urged students at the college to obtain permits so they could carry concealed weapons.

Fourteen people were killed and 21 others wounded in the Dec. 2 assault by the American son of Pakistani immigrants and his Pakistani-born wife who opened fire at a holiday party.

Falwell's remarks last week stirred controversy because of the way he talked about Muslims.

"I've always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in," Falwell said in that speech.

The son of the late televangelist Jerry Falwell Sr later said he was referring to Islamic militants, not all Muslims.

Student concern about gun-free zones

The campus in Lynchburg, Va., accepts students of other faiths, and Falwell said last week he estimated there were about 15 to 20 Muslim students on campus, though it's not clear if that total came from the school's admissions department.

In his latest remarks to students, Falwell on Wednesday said changes were being put in place at the evangelical Christian college to allow students to more easily possess firearms, according to a video on the website of The News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg.

Jerry Falwell Jr. is seen making remarks in the campus auditorium when Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson spoke at Liberty University on Nov. 11. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
"Because of a lot of requests I've received from you, from students, about it not being a good idea to have gun-free zones in the residence halls ... we're making that change at your request," Falwell said on the video.

"If some of those 14 who were killed ... if just one or two or three or four of those victims had carry permits and guns, maybe there would have only been three or four deaths," he said, again referring to the mass shooting in California.

Falwell was also quoted on Wednesday as telling The News & Advance that the school's executive board unanimously favored permitting guns in dormitories, although it had not yet formally voted on it.

Falwell could not be reached for comment.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, last week said Falwell had been "rash and repugnant" in his speech that made reference to Muslims. Liberty University is a private institution with about 15,000 students taking courses on campus and more than 95,000 enrolled online, according to the school's website.


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