University President in Va. Encourages Students to Get CCPs

The statements contradicted the anti-gun rhetoric of many college administrators and security officials around the country.

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. surprised some when he told a large assembly of school community members to obtain concealed carry permits in order to defend the campus against potential terrorist attacks.

RELATED: Should We Allow CCP Holders to Carry Guns on Campus? 11 Reservations of a ‘Gun Guy’

Falwell made the remarks Dec. 4 in front of an assembly of around 10,000 students, staff and faculty members from the university. The president, long known for his conservative leanings, referred specifically to last week’s attack in San Bernardino, which he said prompted him to begin carrying a .25-caliber handgun in his back pocket, reports the Associated Press.

“Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here… I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in,” Falwell said to a crowd on the campus of the small private Christian university in Lynchuburg.

Among the people who disagreed with Falwell’s remarks was Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who said the comments make Liberty’s campus less welcoming and safe.

RELATED: Study Shows Most College and K-12 Protection Personnel Oppose Concealed Carry on Campus

Falwell later defended his statements, pointing out that you must be 21 to earn a permit in the state, meaning many of the university’s students don’t apply. Falwell also said he knew many people on campus supported his idea because over 100 people had inquired about a free class taught by the Liberty University Police Department that gives out concealed carry permits.

The recent attack in San Bernardino, which may have been motivated by Islamic extremism, has put the issue of gun rights at the forefront of public debate. Media coverage of terrorist attacks has further put the idea of domestic terrorism on people’s minds. Including the San Bernardino attack, however, the death toll from jihadist terrorism in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001, is 45, according to the New York Times. That means schools and universities are far more likely to encounter other forms of violence rather than a terrorist attack.

Liberty enrolls more than 14,500 students on campus and roughly 100,000 online.

If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

About the Author


Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety Conference promo