Here is the article from USU's the stateman news paper. I highlighted parts i found interesting or not quite correct.With a concealed weapons permit, it's legal for an individual to carry a gun in the state of Utah as long as it's concealed
— including on campus at USU, even though university policy may suggests otherwise.
"University policy is you shouldn't have a gun on campus," said Eric Olsen, USU's associate vice president for Student Services. "But the state law allows it, so the university can't supercede state law."
He said University of Utah administrators tried to push an anti-gun policy a few years ago to no avail. He also said Utah is one of only a few states — if not the only state — to allow guns on campuses.
Utah state Legislature is currently considering an open-carry bill that would make it legal to carry a gun in public without having to conceal it. HB49, sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton, recently passed the House and awaits review by the Senate.
"Given what you see in society, (like Monday's) Ohio high school shooting, everybody is scared to death — going to work, sending their kids to school, all this stuff — that something like this happens," said USU Police Capt. Steve Milne.
When asked how he thinks an open-carry law, if passed by the Legislature, would affect law-enforcement personnel, Milne said, "If you get somebody that suddenly shows up (on campus) with a gun — and the paranoia that it causes — we are going to get calls, and we're going to end up responding, and then there's going to be this debate on whether they can open carry or not." Milne said if HB49 passes, campus police will be busier dealing with phone calls from worried students and faculty scared by seeing someone carrying a weapon out in the open on campus. USU Police Chief Steve Mecham agreed."Let's say a guy walks in, he's got a concealed weapons permit, he walks in with a rifle in the middle of a class, people are scared to death, they don't know what to do," Mecham said. "We respond, we say, ‘Do you have a concealed weapons permit?' (He says,) ‘Yes, I do.' And we ask the people, ‘Was he doing anything threatening?' (They say,) ‘No, he's just got this huge gun, and I'm not going to be in this room.' There's nothing we could do."
According to the text in HB49, possession of a firearm or deadly weapon, regardless of whether it's concealed or in the open, is not considered illegal and police cannot approach the individual as long as there is an absence of "additional threatening behavior."
Mecham said law-enforcement personnel are further restricted by code section 76-10-532, which states, "Except where explicit authority to regulate firearms or other dangerous weapons has been granted by the Legislature, a local authority, political subdivision, municipality, or any other state entity, may not enact, maintain or enforce a law … that limits or prevents the otherwise legal possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon."
What this means, Mecham said, is that police cannot approach anyone with a weapon for disrupting an academic setting or causing public alarm.
Mecham said he and other law enforcement professionals have expressed concern about the bill by emailing Rep. David Butterfield, R-Logan, requesting that legislators either vote against the bill or at least exempt schools in its text. Mecham said he's contacted several other legislators, including Rep. Curt Webb, R-Logan, who has not yet gotten back to him. "Let's make sure that we've got the exemption for open carry, because it's going to be disruptive to the educational process,
" Mecham said. "On the (House) floor, (Ray, the bill's sponsor,) made the comment that federal law prohibits open carrying of firearms on college campuses. (I've) never heard of such a law."
Mecham said he emailed Ray, asking him to have a staffer send him a copy of the federal law Ray was referring to, but Mecham said he's still waiting to hear back from him.Mecham said he fully supports the Second Amendment and an individual's right to carry a concealed weapon
. Milne agreed and said he just wants people to conceal their firearms to keep from scaring people
Amid growing controversy concerning guns and campus shootings across the country — including Monday's Chardon, Ohio, shooting and last year's Virginia Tech shooting — Olsen and university police are educating staff and faculty on what to do in the event a shooting takes place here.
"Unfortunately, we live in a day and age when there is violence on campus," Olsen said last Thursday night to a group of Taggart Student Center nighttime Facilities employees. "We've all seen what happened at Virginia Tech and Eastern Illinois and a few other schools. Unfortunately, it may happen here — it's not a matter of if, it's more when."
Last Thursday night, with the help of USU Police Sgt. Travis Dunn, Olsen facilitated a training session for a group of about 20 individuals who work in the TSC at night. The training session
included the screening of a video, called "Shots Fired on Campus," which essentially states that in an active-shooter incident on campus, people should stay calm, have a plan and tell themselves they will survive — they will live through it.
Olsen said a similar training session was held the day before for daytime TSC employees.
After the video was shown, Dunn stressed the fact that nobody knows what an active shooter will look like. He said no one should be paranoid that everyone on campus has a gun, but an active shooter could be anyone.
"First of all, report any suspicious things," Dunn said. "Second, we want you to be safe, we want you to run, get out of here the best you can. Don't feel like you're bothering the police department, we have 11 police officers. Feel free to call us, anytime."
The "Humans vs. Zombies" game that several students participate in multiple times a year has recently caused concern among university police and Student Services, because the large quantity and variety of toy guns people bring on campus provide more opportunity for a real weapon to be lost in the mix,
"Some of you guys might enjoy that," Dunn said. "We're trying to make it where you can still play it, but it's contained and it's not campuswide. Just last week we had a report of a man with a gun."
He said police responded to the call and realized the gun was just a toy altered to resemble a real revolver.
Olsen said the possibility of having a shooter on campus is real, but he tries to remain positive that USU will continue to be a safe place to get an education. He said he hopes USU never experiences a shooter on campus, but it's better to be safe and be prepared for the worst.
Meanwhile, the police remain abreast of developments in this legislative session and ready to respond to any calls they receive."If this bill passes and becomes law," Mecham said, "it's going to have a negative effect on the educational process and on the tranquility of our communities — on campus and throughout the state. Because of the discomfort of people seeing open firearms in the place where you have your family."