CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on Senate Bill 10, or the Campus Self-Defense Act, on Wednesday.

The West Virginia Legislature says the Campus Self-Defense Act will take away the authority of the Higher Education Policy Commission, the Council for Community and Technical College Education, and the institutional boards of governors to regulate or restrict the carrying of firearms on higher-education campuses.

People against the bill say that they believe the bill would bring more injuries and violence to college campuses, as well as be unfair to students.

Bella Mitchell, a Senior at West Virginia University and a College Senator at the WVU College of Applied Sciences, says the West Virginia Student Government has created a proclamation that passed through their Board of Governors about their stance on the bill.

“We feel as though asking students to give up their feelings of safety for someone’s potential heroism is unfair,” Mitchell said. “It’s putting people in a really difficult position to choose between their safety and their education.”

A history professor at Marshall University and a former Military Infantryman shared concerns about accidental injuries and suicide as a result of the bill.

“Marshall University, WVU and other universities have expressed that they are opposed to this bill,” Prof. Chris White said. “I am not going to say this is going to increase actual violence on campus – it might – but what I do know is that it will increase accidental discharges because the students and the other people there are not trained in the same way the military and law enforcement are, as well as suicide.”

Those for the bill’s passage say bringing a concealed-carry firearm onto public university campuses is already legal and that this bill would remove administrative penalties.

“It removes the administrative penalties, not the civil, not the criminal, but the administrative penalties to students and staff that choose to arm themselves,” Dr. Zachary Campbell, West Virginia Citizens Defense League, said. “This is for concealed carry permit holders only; these are not random students.”

When the bill passed the West Virginia State Senate, Senator Mike Stuart (R-Kanawha) said the bill is a “good compromise.”

“It is certainly not a radical bill by any measure,” Sen. Stuart said. “It’s all concealed carry and there are great parameters to make sure our campuses are safe.”

The bill was passed by the West Virginia State Senate on Jan. 14. It is currently pending in the House Judiciary Committee.