Officials at the Oregon public university system are scrambling to figure out how to limit guns on their campuses following a court ruling that overturned a long standing ban on guns -- the latest state to allow weapons on campus.
The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled last week that concealed weapons permit holders can bring their guns anywhere on public university campuses. While officials mull an appeal, they are looking into ways around the ban, such as prohibiting guns in dorm rooms and the football stadium.
“We don’t know exactly what we will be doing at this point in terms of policy, but we are starting to research that,” university spokeswoman Di Saunders said. “We are very, very concerned about student safety.”
Oregon joins Colorado, Wisconsin and Mississippi as states which recently allowed guns on campus.
The Wisconsin rules take effect on November 1. That law allows schools to ban guns inside buildings as long as there are signs at the entrances notifying people. That is easier said than done -- the university system's 26 campuses have 12,000 entrances to hundreds of buildings.
“I think people are concerned about what we all are concerned about. People who have some kind of grief or beef or grievance, or something that they don’t think has been properly resolved, the fact that they can bring a gun to campus and keep it in their car is unsettling to supervisors,” Sue Riesling, police chief at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, said. “To me, the danger in these concealed carry laws is, when you know all guns are prohibited, if you see one, you call…. It’s the people who don’t have permits who get away with it, because the general public isn’t sure, legal or illegal? And they hesitate to make the call.”
Gun advocates say concealed weapons on campus will actually make students safer. They claim armed students can take down a crazed gunman faster than police, who have a response time of at least several minutes, while students would be right there in the room, armed and ready to go.