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Concealed carry on campus?

Bill would forbid University of Alaska policies that contradict state law

Posted: February 16, 2014 - 1:08am

Fittingly, the bill introduced Friday that would prohibit the University of Alaska Board of Regents from banning concealed weapons on campus actually is the result of campus discussions.

Intern Hans Rodvik approached Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole, about the proposal earlier this session. The Senate majority leader agreed to carry SB176 under one condition — Rodvik would be in charge of seeing it through the legislative process.

“The university created a policy contradictory to state law,” Coghill said. “We’re asking them to give us a good reason the right to bear arms should be infringed.”

In addition to barring the University of Alaska Board of Regents from prohibiting the concealed carry of firearms, the proposal forbids any policy from being adopted that is not identical to state law.

“We’re talking about the fundamental right to keep and bear arms,” said Rodvik, a junior political science major at the Anchorage campus. “The Board of Regents is flat out ignoring the constitution and state law.”

A news release from Coghill’s office states: “Current state law does not prohibit law abiding citizens from carrying concealed firearms on UA Campuses.”

The bill does allow for exceptions, however.

For example, university officials can prohibit firearms and knives in restricted areas in certain buildings — areas that require some sort of security clearance before entering.

University officials can also ban the discharge of a firearm, so long as the policy allows for the firearm to be used in a self-defense situation.

“The Alaska Constitution affords us many rights, including the right to carry a firearm,” Coghill said in the news release. “Individuals do not lose the right to bear a concealed firearm simply because they enter a public university.”

Aside from one intimidation case, the University of Alaska, Southeast campus did not have any criminal or hate crimes committed in 2010 or 2012. In 2011, there were three robberies on campus or in residential facilities.

The Fairbanks campus has not been as fortunate. From 2010 to 2012, UAF police reported 26 cases of forcible sexual assault, two cases on non-forcible sexual assault and 14 burglaries.

UAF also experienced a motor vehicle theft on campus in 2011, and three cases of aggravated assault over the three-year span.

The UA campus in Alaska’s largest city reported eight forcible sex assault cases from 2010 to 2012, along with four burglary cases and six aggravated assaults.

Over the three-year span, UAA police reported a robbery, motor vehicle theft and 273 larceny thefts, according to crime data reports from the UA system websites.

Sill, in light of the rash of mass shootings across the country over the last several years, Coghill said allowing students to carry on campus could deter such a tragedy from happening in Alaska.

“In the most horrific shootings, often times (the shooters) have lost their cognitive thinking abilities and they may have some mental problems,” Coghill said. “They go to places where people can’t defend themselves, and campuses are a prime target.”

University officials hadn’t evaluated the entirety of the bill when reached for comment Friday afternoon, but did defend the policy that has been in place since 1995 that bans concealed carry on campus.

“The university considers itself to be similarly situated to other places where weapons are not allowed,” said Kate Wattum, the assistant director of public affairs for the University of Alaska system.

Wattum explained that high school tours and other visitation events often have children on campus like a K-12 campus might, and that there are daycares and places that sell liquor on or near campuses.

“Dorms are not really considered to be safe places for weapons storage as well,” Wattum continued. “Students tend to leave those unlocked, there are a number of visitors in-and-out and older students may have alcohol inside.”

The Board of Regents will be in discussions with campus administration personnel as the bill makes its way through the Legislature, Wattum said.

The legislation was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and is awaiting being scheduled for its first hearing.

The idea for SB176 was formed on the University of Alaska, Anchorage campus last fall when Rodvik learned he had been accepted for the internship with Coghill’s office for the second year of the 28th Legislature.

“It really came out of the student body,” Coghill said.

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Steven Rosales
Steven Rosales 02/16/14 - 11:44 am
There is no

reason to prohibit arms on campus. It has been proven time and time again that concealed weapons actually deter crimes. Rarely will an insane person make an assault on a place he knows has the potential to have firearms present. All of pir mass shooting kn the past decade have proven that. OK now the nutcase liberals can go ahead and sound stupid and respond.

Matthew Carberry
Matthew Carberry 02/16/14 - 12:56 pm
Feeble UA argument

I expect better from a place theoretically devoted to logic and reason. The law explicitly states which areas are prohibited for carry. Being "near to liquor stores and day care centers" are not in the law. Neither is the mere "presence of students of K-12 age". By the UA spokesperson's puerile reasoning carry would be banned everywhere in public on those basis. This bill would affect only adults, 21 and older, who already responsibly carry and store their firearms everywhere else they go off campus. What is the UA explanation for why those responsible adults are somehow not to be trusted simply by coming on campus?

Matthew Carberry
Matthew Carberry 02/16/14 - 01:05 pm
To be precise...

Carry inside liquor stores is legal, as is carry in restaurants that serve alcohol if not drinking. Carry is barred "on the licensed premises of", that is -inside the actual doors / playground fence- of a licensed day care, or "in a parking lot immediately adjacent to" such a premises. There isn't case law and that provision needs clarification by the legislature, but there is no parking lot on the UAA campus that meets that criteria under any rational reading of "immediately adjacent", as in "physically contiguous with and for the sole usage of".

Carry is forbidden on the physical grounds of K-12 schools, not "near school-age children". That K-12 kids are on UA campuses is no different than being on a field trip any other non-prohibited place.

Matthew Carberry
Matthew Carberry 02/16/14 - 01:11 pm
And finally...

The Board of Regents have a limited delegation of authority from the State, making them a sub-division of the State and thus bound by preemption, to make policies regarding the good order of the University.

That unelected body has nothing resembling the power or authority to, by fiat, utterly abrogate a fundamental Right enshrined in both the Alaska and US Constitutions*.

* - recently restated by the 9th Circuit

Art Petersen
Art Petersen 02/16/14 - 07:01 pm
Let's just get it over with

and make carrying concealed firearms everywhere a law. Don't just pick on institutions of higher learning, or heck, any institution of learning. Let's just require "carrying" everywhere of everybody 18 years and older. Everywhere: classrooms, concerts, churches, grocery stores, bars, legislatures, court rooms, offices of government officials.... Guns could not be denied anywhere--maybe even in banks, airports, airplanes, and military sites. After all, the 2nd Amendment has no bounds. Sure most people are put off by guns and gun violence. It kills 30-to-40-thousand people in the U.S. every year, most of them women and children. But that's no reason to deny concealed firearms everywhere. Once everyone has one, people will get over their fear of guns. Here's how it could work: just as with selective service registration at age 18, which is required by law, people will have to apply for and provide proof of purchase of a concealed gun. And let's not leave the women out of this. Everybody means everybody, and anywhere means everywhere. Anyone 18 or older will be "carrying," and no matter where you go, people will be "carrying." Who would dare to be a "bad man" (or woman) then? What could possibly go wrong? Let a person be threatening, in a Shakespeare seminar for example, and an end could be put to it there and then.

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