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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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Angel Crusher
Angel Crusher 02/18/14 - 02:12 am

The difference is my mouth (despite what some may say) does not go off by accident. If I shout obscenities, libel someone or falsely yell "fire" in a crowded theater, I do so with full knowledge of the possible consequences. You can safely carry your firearm without a malicious thought in your head, then suddenly have an accidental discharge and you're a killer. That's the difference and it is in no way insignificant.

Karl Ashenbrenner
Karl Ashenbrenner 02/18/14 - 10:05 am

the national institute of mental health estimates that 26.2 percent of Americans 18 or older suffer from some sort of mental health issues every year. That is 1 in 4. So if you have a class of 30 students then 7 would have some mental health issues at any given time. Not to say that there would be 7 or even 1, but to have them in a high stress environment carrying a gun is 1 to many. Guns should be kept out of schools period.

Judy Hodel
Judy Hodel 02/18/14 - 01:47 pm
NRA Nuts

One guy sure has the NRA talking points in the copy and paste.

Moderator won't allow posting the link but 2 white guys that were both NRA members, gainfully employed, husbands and fathers got in a road rage tiff with each other.

One guy came out of his car with a gun as the 2nd guy approached him. Then 2nd guy dives into his truck and pulls out his pistol. They both shoot and kill each other. This happened in Southeast Michigan in September. You can Google and find it. Both guns were legal. But if neither had a gun they would both be alive. Remember that guns don't kill people. People kill people. I wonder if Wayne La Pierra sent flowers?

Matthew Carberry
Matthew Carberry 02/18/14 - 10:30 pm
NRA talking points?

I like to call it actual research and critical thinking. When folks can't counter facts and logic, but have to resort to pseudo slurs it says a lot about the quality of their own position.

And as for anecdotes, first off, the relevant comparison is not random acts of criminality or stupidity in general but rather actual incidents by lawful carriers on college campuses where such carry has been allowed for years. Those incidents simply do not seem to occur, much less with statistical significance. Absent that they cannot even begin to justify the actual abrogation of fundamental rights.

As for the mental health, again, that a large number of peaceable adult citizens have some form of minor mental health issues is irrelevant, the only number that matters is how many adult carriers are affected seriously enough to show themselves to be a threat to others and act out criminally. To claim otherwise is bigoted against the mentally ill, and still fails to justify general restrictions on that same fundamental right to the effective means of self-defense.

Karl Ashenbrenner
Karl Ashenbrenner 02/19/14 - 09:14 am
yeah Matthew

but the NRA fights background checks/mental health checks tooth and nail. So your argument is not about facts but about NRA talking points, which are just that...talking points. Once upon a time (if you want facts) the NRA was run by rational gun owners who were for sensible gun regulation. Not to take your guns away, but to make sure that gun ownership was done in a responsible way. Background checks, no 100 round magazines, no machine guns were all promoted by the NRA until Wayne LaPierre and his ilk hijacked the NRA back in the late 70's. Those are facts if you care to look them up.

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