• Overcast
  • 55°
  • Comment

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.

  • Comment

Comments (19) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Angel Crusher
Angel Crusher 02/17/14 - 02:33 am

I am a great believer in firearm safety training, and I'm glad it occurs at our schools at young ages. But your analogy is a false equivalency. Learning to swim and sex education involve personal safety. No amount of training can teach me nor any child to dodge, deflect or outrun a bullet. Your right to carry a firearm ends at my being shot by it. Whether through malice or accident, the outcome is the same.

The Second Amendment is no more absolute than the First. Your freedom of speech is limited as so to not include obscenity, libel, and disclosure of state secrets. And so we have restrictions; places that we designate firearms not be allowed. The University is one of those places, as no one is (you'll forgive the metaphor) putting a gun to your head to make you go.

Karl Ashenbrenner
Karl Ashenbrenner 02/17/14 - 09:37 am

carry should not be enacted....if you want to have the deterrant then it should be open carry for everyone. What better way to have a nutcase decide not to start shooting than to see everyone with a sidearm or rifle walking around. Yeah, I could just see it easy to just get another professor cause "that last varmint gave me a C on that paper...he won't do that again...who is next to teach Bio 104"!

Frank Heart
Frank Heart 02/17/14 - 09:56 am
Kid’s emotions run high on

Kid’s emotions run high on campus and every detail of their lives appear bigger than life. At times an event like the loss of a girl or maybe some gossip can make the day seem insurmountable to a kid and life no longer worth living …..
Remember those days?
This is why guns should not be in schools. "Kids" are not ready for them.

Lorraine Murray
Lorraine Murray 02/17/14 - 12:38 pm
What teacher would pass out a

What teacher would pass out a D in this environment? I think allowing weapons on school grounds would interfere with the school’s mission of educating its students

Matthew Carberry
Matthew Carberry 02/17/14 - 07:07 pm
Ah, more baseless nonsense

Angel, Note that your examples are not peaceable exercise of the right to speak, but criminal acts with existing punishments. That some people misuse their right doesn't justify prior restraint on non-criminal speech by everyone else.

Karl and Lorraine, since the multiple colleges which allow and have allowed carry on their campuses per state laws by adults (not "kids" Frank) who safely and responsibly carry off campus have no documented problems, the burden is on you, who would restrict a fundamental civil right, to explain what makes Alaska campuses more likely to turn those adults into irresponsible criminals than campuses Outside. You also need to explain why you think Alaskan professors won't be able to handle legal carry on campus equally as well as professors Outside. After all, every single student and faculty member on a UA campus interacts with legal, responsible carriers everywhere they go off-campus.

Back to Top


  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback