Tarak Andrew Underiner was an Ohio State student, civil rights activist and treasurer of Buckeyes for Concealed Carry. Underiner, who testified in favor of campus carry before the Ohio legislature last year, was killed early Thursday morning in an off-campus shooting in Columbus.
According to The Lantern, the Ohio State student newspaper, Columbus police officers arrived at an off-campus residence early Thursday morning, finding Underiner unresponsive with several gunshot wounds; they pronounced him dead at 12:41a.m. “‘Investigators do not believe this incident was random in nature nor has any connection to the University,’ the report states.” Otherwise, facts about the slaying remain sketchy.
Underiner became a figure of note in the gun rights community in December when he testified before the Ohio legislature in favor of House Bill 48, which eased a few restrictions on the carriage of firearms on college campuses and other places.
“College campuses and the areas surrounding them present environments rich with potential victims,” Tarak Underiner, an Ohio State student and member of university’s chapter of Students for Concealed Carry, told a Senate committee. “They’re willing to gamble we’re unarmed and it pays off.”
Stressing the need for students to be armed, Underiner read off violent-crime statistics this semester for the University District, including 129 assaults and 21 sex crimes.
Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican, signed the bill into law on December 19, 2016.
Underiner’s sworn statement came in the wake of the car-and-knife attack on Ohio State’s campus by a logistics student who had immigrated to this country from Somalia. That attack left eleven people injured and the attacker dead after being shot by campus police.
Around the same time, Underiner gave an interview to the student-run Lantern TV show “Scarlet Scoop” on the subject, where he offered the following thoughts on the subject:
If you can’t carry [a firearm] on campus, they are guaranteeing that we’ll be defenseless from the moment that we leave our homes to the moment that we return…. If I come home from the library late at night at 3:00a.m., if I live in a bad neighborhood, I should have that option [to carry a firearm]. I don’t think it should be up to the University to decide that.
“A friend of mine was raped…[at] a different college…. I’ve been robbed before. It was not a fun experience…. I’m not saying a gun would have changed that situation; it would have been nice to have the option….
It is unclear if Underiner had a firearm at the time of the attack, as facts are still sketchy at this point. A gun, of course, is not a talisman that can ward off violent crime by its mere possession; his statement to The Lantern indicates that Underiner was all too aware of this fact.
Michael Newbern, of Ohio Students for Concealed Carry, issued a statement on Facebook:
“I am deeply saddened by the tragedy that occurred last night near The Ohio State University. Tarak Underiner was both a personal friend of mine and a bright young man with a promising future ahead of him. His work as a member of Buckeyes for Concealed Carry on Campus to restore the right to self-defense on Ohio’s college campuses put him in an elite class obtained by very few others in our movement.
[h/t: The College Fix]