Lowcountry students, lawmakers consider guns on campus after USC petition

By Stacy Jacobsonsjacobson@abcnews4.comCHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- University of South Carolina students started a petition this week to allow concealed weapons on campus. They said they needed better protected after a recent on-campus robbery. Lowcountry students and lawmakers reacted Friday."Tempers flare up. If students get angry at professors or anything and then you have a weapon available, that can be potentially dangerous to other students," CofC senior Jessica Owens said."I don't agree with it because with students walking around, they're young and there might be mistakes that happen, sophomore Christian Calloway said."It could only end bad," freshman Kathryn McElwee.CofC students said they trusted campus safety officials and police. According to CofC's annual crime statistics, CofC had 14 on-campus criminal offenses in 2012. By comparison, USC in Columbia had 75 on-campus criminal offenses in 2012, according to the school's statistics. Jacob Smith, a student at USC, started the USC Students for Concealed Carry."They can't be everywhere at once,. You can't expect an officer to always be within a call. The average police response time is seven minutes," Smith said.Rep. Wendell Gilliard (D- District 111) said the movement was a result of a lot of hype and did not think it would affect lawmakers."You have top leaders going around promoting concealed weapons. This is the outcome of all that. We're sending the wrong message to our children when we promote guns. If they have the right to carry concealed weapons, can you imagine what we're creating? We're creating another Columbine. We're creating a perfect storm," Gilliard said.Rep. Chip Limehouse (R- District 110) disagreed."Any law abiding citizens of age to carry concealed weapon, who are certified, should be able to carry it," he said. "In the classroom, it's up for debate. But as far as campus goes, USC campus is large and can be a dangerous place."Students said campus alerts keep them updated and they'd rather protect themselves using other devices or methods.