[Vision2020] Guns on campuses

Sam Scripter MoscowSam at charter.net
Thu Sep 29 11:13:52 PDT 2011

And in our neighboring state . . .


  Oregon Court of Appeals rejects university system's ban on guns on campus

          *Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 8:44 PM    
          Updated: Thursday, September 29, 2011, 12:07 AM*

Bill Graves, The Oregonian 
<http://connect.oregonlive.com/user/bgraves/index.html> By Bill Graves, 
The Oregonian <http://connect.oregonlive.com/user/bgraves/index.html>

Bill Graves/The OregonianThe library on the campus of Portland State 
University, where it will be legal for students with permits to carry 
concealed guns under a state court ruling Wednesday.

Students and faculty with permits will be allowed to carry concealed 
guns on Oregon's seven public university campuses -- at least for now -- 
as the result of acourt ruling 

  A three-judge panel of the Oregon Court of Appeals said that anOregon 
University System <http://www.ous.edu/>ban on guns exceeds its authority 
and is invalid.

That means people with permits can pack concealed guns, said Di 
Saunders, spokeswoman for the university system.

"We don't have the authority to kick them off campus unless they show 
the weapons," she said.

But anyone brandishing a gun on campus would be approached immediately 
by security, she said.

Kevin Starrett,  executive director of the Oregon Firearms Educational 
Foundation <http://ofef.org/> that filed the suit challenging the gun 
ban, said as a practical matter the ruling does not change much.

"There are students and staff and visitors carrying guns on every campus 
of every college in this state every day," said Starrett, whose 
nonprofit group fights for Second Amendment constitutional rights. "My 
interest is having people who have power over other people conform to 
the same rules that everyone else is expected to conform to and not use 
their bureaucratic position as a way to harass, intimidate and humiliate 
people who are doing nothing wrong."

University officials have not decided whether they will appeal the 
decision, seek new legislation or take other action, but they will be 
looking for a way to ban all guns from campus, even those carried by 
people with permits, Saunders said.

One possible option would be to require students to sign a statement 
agreeing not to carry a gun before allowing them to enter classroom 
buildings, sports events or their dormitories, she said.

University of Oregon <http://www.uoregon.edu/>students will urge the 
university system to appeal what they see as a "flawed" and "dangerous 
decision," said Ben Eckstein, 21,  a senior and student body president.

"Students feel our college campus should be a place where we can learn 
safely, engage safely," he said. "When anybody brings a lethal weapon on 
campus, it threatens our ability to learn safely."

The lawsuit grew out of a controversy in early 2009 over Western Oregon 
University's <http://www.wou.edu/>suspension of a student for packing a 
handgun, even though he had a permit.

The court ruled that while the State Board of Higher Education has 
authority to control and manage its property and to enact administrative 
rules, it cannot override a state law that says only the Legislature can 
regulate the use, sale and possession of firearms.

The university system rule that bans guns on university property 
"exceeds the agency's authority," the court wrote. The gun ban was 
developed in the 1970s and modified in 1991.

Rep. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, 
<http://gov.oregonlive.com/legislators/Kim-Thatcher/>  supported the 
firearms foundation in its suit and called the ruling a vindication for 
gun owners. She said she was concerned both about the university 
system's restrictions on guns and its overstepping its authority.

"How many other agencies are out there making up rules outside the law?" 
she asked. "I don't have a problem with someone carrying a gun on 
campus. That should make it safer to be on campus, to have a law-abiding 
citizen carrying a gun."

The university system, however, will be looking for other ways to keep 
guns off campus, Saunders said.

"This does not erase all the safety protections we have on campus," she 
said. "It invalidates one Oregon administrative rule, but it doesn't 
invalidate our mission to keep students safe."

-- Bill Graves <mailto:bgraves at oregonian.com>
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