A key house committee has put off voting on a bill that would allow campus police to carry guns at state universities, saying lawmakers need more time to gather information.
Rhode Island is currently the only state that prohibits guns on state college police forces, although some individual schools have decided against the practice. Proponents of the bill to arm campus police say it will speed response times in an emergency, a concern that was underscored during a gun scare at the University of Rhode Island last month.
The URI faculty union has emerged as a major opponent of arming campus police. Professors argue that arming campus police is too expensive and would not make students safer.
State Representative Edith Ajello, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, tells the Associated Press she decided to delay a vote while lawmakers consider the issue. Meanwhile, the State Board of Education is expected to vote later this month on a proposal that would allow each of the state’s public universities to decide on its own whether to arm campus police.