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Some students fight for right to carry guns at U of M

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A recent spate of widely publicized violent crimes at the U of M has prompted some students to push for more firearms on campus.

Several University of Minnesota organizations are campaigning this week for the right to carry guns at the U of M with a legal permit.

The group College Republicans of the University of Minnesota is among the student organizations seeking a change in the university's gun policy in response to a series of robberies, assaults and other violent crimes on or near the campus as of late, the Star Tribune reports.

A "Tell the Regents: Allow Campus Carry" event, which aims to inform students about the groups' efforts, runs Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Coffman Memorial Union.

The College Republicans' petition to allow lawful campus carry says self defense is a human right and U of M students, faculty, staff and visitors shouldn't be denied that right on campus. It goes on to say that people with proper permits should be able to carry on college campuses like they do in other non-secure locations across Minnesota.

Currently, the university's policy bans employees and students, with limited exceptions such as police officers, from bringing firearms and pistols on campus.

Minnesota is one of 22 states that leave the decision to ban or allow weapons on campuses to each college or university, according to the Star Tribune.

The College Republicans at the U of M are coordinating with the Twin Cities Gun Owners and Carry Forum and the Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance to sponsor the push to allow people to carry guns on the campus. Other student organizations participating include: Young Americans for Liberty, The Minnesota Republic and Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow, according to the event's Facebook page.

Minnesota law requires citizens who want to carry guns to pass a background check, take gun safety classes and be 21 years old – so not all U of M students would be eligible, according to the Star Tribune.

There are about 165,000 Minnesotans licensed to carry a gun in the state, according to figures from 2013. More than 63,000 people applied for permits to carry guns last year.

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