EMU debates concealed guns on campus

December 2, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Video

EMU Student government hosted a debate over propsed changes to Michigan’s Concealed Carry laws. Representatives from the NRA and the EMU Police department argued for and against the concealed carry of firearms on campus.

Advocating for concealed carry was Reid Smith, a member of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, and Professor David Coy, an accounting professor at Adrian college and a volunteer on the Board of Directors for the National Rifle Association. Coy arrived about 15 minutes late.

Arguing against guns on campus was Paul Leighton, a criminology professor at EMU, and Greg O’Dell, Chief of the EMU Department of Public Safety.

Just over 100 students, staff, visitors, and EMU police officers attended the nearly two hour debate.

Michigan law prohibits anyone under 21 to carry a concealed weapon. So a large number of EMU students would not be permitted to hold a concealed pistol license as they are too young.

Chief O’Dell said he was opposed to the possession of guns on campus as it would increase the rates of suicide. O’Dell said cops have an extraordinarily high rate of suicide because of easy access to guns.

According to NIH and the FBI, police officers are twice as likely to commit suicide as the general public. Leading one audience member to ask after the debate if perhaps EMU police officers should not be permitted to carry guns on campus.

Ann Arbor.com reported about one student who told the story, “My aunt was murdered by someone with a concealed weapons permit,” she said as her voice began to crack and she fought back tears. “Just because people go through these classes doesn’t mean they won’t kill someone.”

The student wouldn’t give her name and left before the debate ended. A student sitting next to her said the aunt was killed by a family member in their home. The murder apparently had nothing to do with the concealed carry of a firearm.

Under Michigan law and the Michigan State Constitution, concealed carry is currently allowed on the campuses of public universities except concealed carry in dormitories and classrooms. The EMU Board of Regents passed a rule against the possession of any firearms while on campus.

According to a recent ruling from Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox and the Michigan State Police, licensed concealed carry permit holders may openly carry a firearm into a pistol exclusion zones including dormitories and classrooms.

The carrying of a concealed weapon on campus can be confusing. During the debate, it was pointed out that off-duty police officers that are also EMU students have carried firearms into classrooms. This is apparently a violation of the Regents policy. According to the university no action has been taken against these students.

Moreover, an officer or CPL holder that drives to EMU and then safely stores their firearm in their vehicle is still in violation of EMU Regents policy while their actions are legal under state law. Michigan State University Regents addressed this confusion as they too had a complete ban on firearms.

In June 2009, MSU Regents changed rules to allow the carrying of concealed weapons in open spaces by licensed concealed permit holders while still barring firearms in buildings. According to MSU spokesman Kent Cassella, “The rules were changed to better align with county and state law.”

Lansing’s Statenews.com reported, “At the University of Michigan, guns still are completely banned, with the county prosecutor enforcing the ban, (MSU Trustee Colleen) McNamara said. She said the prosecutor who handles crime on MSU’s campus did not prosecute people who violated MSU’s ordinance, instead siding with state law and prompting the board’s vote to change policy.”

Comments

4 Comments on "EMU debates concealed guns on campus"

  1. dcoy on Fri, 4th Dec 2009 9:19 am 

    I stand corrected for being late. In my personal defense, I’ve only been to Eastern 4 times in my (almost) 57 years of life. The last time was about 5 years ago. At that time, 5 years ago, I was in a building that I understood was the student center, so I went to this location and arrived exactly on time for the panel discussion. It turned out to be the wrong location, and it took me about 20 minutes to get directions and get to the right place. Again, I apologize for may tardiness. – David Coy

  2. procop on Thu, 17th Jun 2010 11:39 am 

    Just a few comments about some points in the article… First please remember that the first duty of a police officer is to protect the public and that is done in many ways. One is to be able to use deadly force when confronted with a deadly force situation. In other words, the guns that police officers carry are for “defense” purposes, not “offense”. To take away a gun from a police officer who is charged with protecting the public is like taking away a hose from a firefighter. There is no way that firefighter can do his job and the same goes for a police officer. An off duty police officer carrying a gun in a classroom provides the same protection as a uniformed, on duty officer would but without the clothing. There really is no difference. So if the worst case scenario should come true and an active shooter situation erupts, that off duty, gun carrying police officer is going to be your first defense, just like he would be if he were in uniform and on duty. The only real difference is the response time which is the best that it can get, there is no delay. Do you really want to take away that defense in such a situation??

  3. cmadler on Mon, 21st Jun 2010 7:53 am 

    Procop wrote: “In other words, the guns that police officers carry are for “defense” purposes, not “offense”.”

    The gun that ANYONE carries legally is for “defense” purposes.

    “To take away a gun from a police officer who is charged with protecting the public is like taking away a hose from a firefighter. There is no way that firefighter can do his job and the same goes for a police officer.”

    This analogy is silly. Firefighters don’t carry their hoses around with them 24/7, arguing that a fire might break out anywhere and any time. Besides which, if we’re talking specifically about off-duty police, it’s not a question of doing their job — that’s what “off-duty” means.

    “An off duty police officer carrying a gun in a classroom provides the same protection as a uniformed, on duty officer would but without the clothing. There really is no difference.”

    A well-trained civilian carrying a gun in a classroom provides the same protection an off-duty police officer would. There really is no difference.

    “So if the worst case scenario should come true and an active shooter situation erupts, that off duty, gun carrying police officer is going to be your first defense, just like he would be if he were in uniform and on duty.”

    Or the well-trained civilian is going to be the first defence.

    “The only real difference is the response time which is the best that it can get, there is no delay. Do you really want to take away that defense in such a situation??”

    My point exactly!

  4. eoptap on Tue, 8th Feb 2011 11:55 am 

    I agree with cmadler, the firearms carried by anyone, carrying legally is being carried for defense. What they failed to mention was the fact that Police officers have a high suicide rate due to High stress an d improper stress management. In that type of job they would still commit suicide even with out the aid of a firearm. If you want to make the assumption based on only partial facts, lets make another ruling. “Belts are illegal on campus the availability will increase the chance of someone hanging them selves.” How about rope, after all that has been the tool that for centuries has been used for murder, suicides, and executions, and not to mention several other harmful uses of rope. To try and say the more availability of an item is the cause of increased suicide is made out of ignorance and the use of partial facts to make a point. When you have real evidence, and hard facts you may sway my opinion.

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