Community art exhibition aims to shed light on college campus gun violence

The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, the State University of New York at New Paltz and the Village and Town of New Paltz will participate in a collaborative art exhibition, titled “Carrying,” a project with the goal of shedding light on college campus gun violence from August 18 through Nov. 14.

The exhibition is an installation of 50 signs scattered throughout the New Paltz community (one for each state) that conveys the complex rules and regulations that pertain to concealed weapons across the nation. These signs will reflect the density of meta-data the surrounds the act of purchasing, transporting and using handguns.

State regulations relating to the issuance of concealed carry permits generally fall into four categories that are typically described as no-issue, may-issue, shall-issue, and unrestricted. A no-issue jurisdiction is one that does not allow any private citizen to carry a concealed handgun; a may-issue jurisdiction is one that requires a permit to carry a concealed handgun; a shall-issue jurisdiction is one that requires a permit to carry a concealed handgun, but where the granting of such permits is subject only to meeting certain criteria laid out in the law; the granting authority has no discretion in the awarding of the permits; and an unrestricted jurisdiction is one where no permit is required to carry a concealed handgun.

Currently, among U.S. states, only Alaska and Vermont allow residents to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. Some states require concealed carry applicants to certify their proficiency with a firearm through some type of training or instruction. Reciprocal recognition of concealed carry privileges and rights vary state-to-state. Many states (e.g., Minnesota, South Carolina, Texas) allow private businesses to post a specific signage for Gun Free zones.

“The prevalence of guns in our country has a divisive political and social history that is now playing out on college campuses in a response to recent incidents of campus gun violence,” said Lise Prown, one of the project’s creators. “A vocal new movement is now calling for allowing adult (21+) students with licenses to carry concealed weapons on college campuses. Eleven US universities now allow concealed weapons on campus – nine of them public. Last year, 17 states considered campus carry legislation, but none enacted them. Concealed and open carry laws are rapidly changing across the nation and gun control opponents are making inroads state by state.”

Curt Belshe, the project’s co-creator, said “Our goal with this piece is to point out the complexity of this issue for members of campus communities across the country, and how it is playing out state by state, by juxtaposing the cool dispassionate nature of info graphics with the grim realities of an armed citizenry.”

A sticker on the back of each sign provides a link to the project Web site with more information about the artists and their work: