Legislation Allows Arms for State Campus Police

Apr 22, 2013

The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing this week on a bill to allow campus police to carry guns at Rhode Island state colleges and universities. The bill was filed long before a scare this month about a gunman on the University of Rhode Island Kingston campus.

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State legislators are considering allowing state college and university police to carry guns.
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

Representative Joe Almeida, a Providence Democrat, turned to politics after a 20-year-career as a police officer. He filed legislation back in February to allow campus police to carry guns. He said many campus police officers are retired cops just like he is, and they’re already trained to carry a firearm.

"Every year he has to go through qualifications for a handgun," Almeida said. "Every year he has to go through qualifications to deal with people, whether it be violent or nonviolent issues. I can’t see why these officers cannot carry a gun."

Almeida introduced this bill once before, about four years ago, but it never went anywhere. Higher education officials say cost is one reason they have not moved earlier to arm campus police.