Why UAA should be a concealed carry campus

Caleb Berry is a senator for USUAA.

There are guns on the UAA campus. University police officers have them, uniformed security guards may have them and, under specific circumstances, even students are permitted to possess them. At the same time, the rights for students to possess firearms on campus are severely restricted. The UA Board of Regents’ Policy should be amended to allow staff, faculty and students to possess concealed firearms within the limits of state and federal law.

Alaska Statutes 11.61.190 through 11.61.220 describe conduct with a weapon that is criminal. In Alaska, there is no prohibition against carrying a concealed weapon as long the prohibited behaviors concerning the carry are obeyed as defined in the Statutes. For example, the carrier must be at least 21, the concealed firearm must be legally purchased and the concealed firearm must be unloaded and locked somewhere secure on property where a licensed childcare felicity operates.

What is being proposed is not a free-for-all; instead, it is a rational compromise between second amendment rights and the need to regulate the possession of firearms on campus.

The current UA Board of Regents’ policy reads, “Except as otherwise provided in policy or university regulation, possession or carrying of firearms in buildings or parts of buildings owned or controlled by the University, on developed university land adjacent to university buildings, or at university sporting, entertainment or educational events, is a violation of regents’ policy and may result in administrative sanctions.”

There are multiple situations where an individual can legitimately possess a firearm on campus. For instance, firearms are allowed within the confines of a car legally parked on campus. Residential students are required to submit their firearms to a central storeroom which they can retrieve with permission from proper staff.

For obvious reasons, UPD officers are allowed to carry firearms, but armed security should not be the only ones allowed to carry firearms on campus. Student, faculty and staff also have a right to defend themselves. These individuals should be allowed to carry concealed firearms on campus provided that their legally entitled to own concealable firearms at all.

- Advertisement -

The limitation of this expanded liberty to these groups of people makes our proposed amendment more reasonable. UAA has a loitering problem that would complicate a general concealed carry policy. Walk across campus at any given time of day and you will likely find multiple loiters, some admittedly shady looking. Our Wolfcards should be considered licenses to carry.

UPD does an excellent job defending us and keeping our campus safe; however, there is still an issue that must be addressed. Anywhere can be safe until the moment it is not. UAA has never experienced an attack by an active shooter and I pray we never will. If such a tragedy was ever to happen we have no guarantee that the brave men and women of UPD could defend us. These noble officers would give their lives to defend us and do everything in their power to protect our lives but at the same time we need to be able to defend ourselves.

There are multiple arguments against UAA becoming a concealed carry campus. The most prevalent argument is that such a policy would lead to an increase in violent crime on campus. This argument is dubious at best and completely fictitious at worse. The non-profit organization Students for Concealed Carry performed multiple investigations into the trend of campus violence and found some interesting data.

More than 333 U.S. college campuses around the country from UtahColoradoIdaho,
Georgia and Texas allowed licensed concealed carry with zero reports of resulting deaths, assaults or suicide attempts. Increased firearms on campus does not results in increased violence.

The possession of firearms on campus by both police officers and regular members of the academic community acts as a deterrent against gun violence. This saves lives and creates a safer campus.

Opinions expressed in The Northern Light do not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper, its staff or faculty advisor(s).