Guns On Campus

Guns On Campus

The University of Central Oklahoma has laws against carrying firearms on campus. Students and faculty members must have permission from president of the University for an exception to be made. (Photo provided by Pixabay.)

There are 10 states in America that allow students to carry firearms legally on campus but the University of Central Oklahoma is not one of them and will not be any time soon.

Oklahoma is a state where the universities decide whether or not people can carry firearms on campus. There are 23 other states that make this decision the same way such as Alabama, Alaska and Arizona, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

UCO clearly states that it is illegal to carry a firearm onto campus regardless of whether it is concealed or unconcealed. There are also stickers posted on the doors of UCO buildings that state firearms are not allowed on the campus grounds.

The UCO administration has stated exactly what is not allowed to be carried on campus in the categories of possession, usage, or storage of such items.

“Firearms, explosives, electronic control devices, such as Taser or other stun guns, other weapons, or dangerous chemicals on University premises in a manner that would reasonably be expected to threaten, harm, incapacitate, or cause fear to other University community members,” the UCO Administration of Safety stated.

Exceptions to this law can be made if a student or faculty member contacts the President of UCO, Don Betz, and asks for permission. There has to be a valid reason for wanting to carry on campus and if the president does not feel that the request is adequate, the request will be denied.

Because the state of Oklahoma allows the university to decide whether people can carry on campus or not, the decision on who can and cannot carry falls to Betz.

“Persons who have a valid Oklahoma carry permit pursuant to the Oklahoma Self Defense Act must have written permission from the UCO President to carry a firearm on campus. Currently employed and commissioned city, state or federal law enforcement officers are not subject to this approval process,” as stated by the UCO Administration of Safety.

If this law is violated or compromised in any way on the UCO campus, the maximum consequences are being charged with an immediate felony and prison sentencing.

The University of Oklahoma was ranked as No.11 in the top safest universities in our state.

According to UCO Chief of Police, Jeff Harp, what the university is doing right now works and there is no need for it to change.

“The history of safety in Oklahoma is that we have safe college campuses,” Harp said. “Students, when they get to a college campus, relax a little bit because they feel safer.”

The university police officers are constantly being trained to handle their weapons and they know how to handle high-stress situations better than students with weapons do.

“I think the range of skills out there on people that have permits [to carry a firearm] ranges from incredibly great to incredibly poor,” Harp said. “There are stress issues that people don’t take into consideration that police officers are trained to deal with.”

The debate of whether people should be able carry on campus will continue but the acknowledgement that there is no reason to have to carry on UCO’s campus is one that people should keep in mind.

“We are a safe environment,” Harp said. “That can change this minute by one incident here or another campus, but I think we are safe.”

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