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Okla. law would allow faculty to carry concealed weapons on campus

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Just a few weeks ago I wrote this story, about lawmakers in Texas considering a bill that would allow students and faculty to carry concealed weapons on university and college campuses. I wrote that Texas would be only the second state to adopt such legislation, behind Utah. Well, it looks like Oklahoma is giving Texas a run for the number two spot.

According to this article, the Oklahoma measure was narrowly approved by a state House committee yesterday (9-8) and is on its way to the House floor. But, similar to the legislation in Texas, many educational advocates and university administrators oppose the legislation:

"This is not a good idea," said Roger Webb, president of the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond and the state's former commissioner of public safety. Webb said the presence of guns on college campuses will create unsafe conditions for students and faculty and that campus security should be the responsibility of trained law enforcement officers.

But the bill's author, Rep. Randy Terrill, said the measure would provide a way for college professors and administrators to protect themselves and others during campus violence like the mass shootings in 2007 at Virginia Tech and 2008 at Northern Illinois, according to the article.

Even if this bill passes, university and colleges will still be able to ban handguns on campus.

Do you think allowing faculty to carry concealed weapons will help keep students safe or does such a law increase the chance of more gun-related incidents happening on campus?

Is university's gun policy illegal?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Guns, guns, guns. Everybody gets so up in arms over guns (haha- you missed my humor, I just know it). I recently read this story about two security officers who were placed on administrative leave after they forwarded an internal memo from the University of Utah regarding its policy on the open carrying of firearms on campus.

But lawmakers and gun advocates are disputing the university's policy, saying it's illegal and goes against the states gun laws.

“They’re saying we don’t want [visible guns] on campus, but state law is they have to accept it because they’re a state university,” Zachary Wellman, a security guard at University Hospital, told The Salt Lake Tribune. “It is a huge issue because they’re circumventing the Utah law and the university president is now making the law, which they have no power to do.”

However, the university's president claims that “having weapons in plain sight on this campus creates a fearful and intimidating campus environment” and goes against the university's educational mission.

According to the article, the guidelines instruct security officers to arrest anyone openly carrying a firearm if they don’t have a concealed-weapons permit and for those who do have a permit, officers are to instruct them to conceal the weapon or leave campus.

However, gun advocates say that a concealed-weapons permit allows individuals to conceal their weapons but doesn’t require that they be hidden and the university can't go against from that legislation.

What do you think?

Supreme Court to overturn Chicago's gun ban? Would it impact security?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

There's been a lot of news lately about the Supreme Court's discussion about whether or not it will overturn Chicago's 28-year-old handgun ban, making it legal for citizens to own and carry guns. Some have speculated that this will increase gun trafficking and lead to an increase in violent crime. Others argue that it will allow private citizens to legally protect themselves.

But I was curious how such a change in policy would impact the security industry? Would making guns legal mean that organizations would consider arming their security officers? Would they need to implement more technology to screen folks entering facilities to ensure they weren't packing heat? I started a discussion on LinkedIn and was surprised by what ensued. (See I told you social media can be a great tool).

You can read the thread here (but you probably have to be a member of the ASIS International group). The consensus was basically that a change in the law wouldn't impact security companies or those charged with securing facilities. Here are a few points I thought were interesting (I chose not to attribute quotes because I didn't want to ask individual permission and it's a blog, so I can get away with it):

I previously worked in a facility with over 1,000 employees and approximately 75% of the employees in the facility had concealed carry permits, yet we had never seen an incident of violent crime on site in the history of that facility. Violent crime in our state is actually well below national averages. I think this illustrates the fact that relaxed gun control laws do not necessarily mean increased risk of violent crime.

... those intent on committing major crimes are already comfortable breaking the law and they are not dissuaded by breaking one more law by having or obtaining firearms. Restrictive gun laws are no more effective at restricting access to firearms than restrictive drug laws are at restricting access to illicit drugs.

With regard to our industry and the impact there, we have not seen any real increase in armed security coverage. In fact, armed security seems to be less common in Oregon than in other states. Aside from courthouses, banks, and armored carrier services, we don't see much armed security here. Most of our government buildings and a fair number of our schools have metal detectors installed. But really I don't think there will be a tremendous impact on our industry. To be honest, I think the impact from such a change would be minimal not only to our industry, but to the nation as a whole.

Another question would now be could security officers carry without the consent of their companies? If it is decided that the 2nd Amendment is universal and applies to all States, can it be similar to the 'hospital situation?' Can a company then not allow its security officers to carry? Would it then be wrong to terminate an officer's employment for carrying?

With the current trend in the US toward relaxing or reversing hand gun laws involving the general populations’ ability to conceal and carry, I would expect an increase for opportunities to deploy thermal, x-ray and metal detection appliances into security operations. Change always spurs new opportunity.