Bend

Oregon gun laws allow concealed-carry on campuses

Experts say some schools' rules aren't what the law, rulings say

Guns allowed on Oregon's campuses

BEND, Ore. - In the wake of the tragic event in Roseburg, gun control laws are once again being debated. Umpqua Community College does not allow guns on campus, and neither does OSU-Cascades.

"The policy forbids carrying a firearm on OSU-owned or controlled property and that includes anyone with a concealed handgun licenses too," said Christine Coffin with OSU-Cascades.

Different schools have different rules. Central Oregon Community College allows students to carry, as long as they have a concealed carry permit.

Gun experts say: not so fast.

"(These schools) make up their own rules and put up signs that are in complete violation of the law," Oregon Firearms Federation Director Kevin Starrett said Tuesday.

Under Oregon law, the possession of a firearm on school property is legal.

"If you have a concealed-carry permit, you're allowed to have a gun on campus," said Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel. "If you don't have a concealed-carry permit, you're still allowed to have a gun on campus -- but only if it's unloaded and in your car."

While a school can make a no-gun policy part of its contract with staff, Hummel said school officials could not make such a policy for their students.

"To say students can't carry, that's a little much," Hummel said. "If a student came on campus with a gun, and he had a concealed-carry permit, and the school administrator called the police (to) have that person prosecuted for violating the law, we'd step in and say 'No -- he didn't violate the law."

In 2009, a Western Oregon University student and Marine Jeffrey Maxwell was arrested for carrying a gun on campus. The Oregon Firearms Federation filed a lawsuit on Maxwell's behalf, and won. The Oregon Court of Appeals overturned campus bans on guns.

"We sued the Oregon University System about this, and they lost," Starrett said. "But of course, they continue to do it, just like UCC did and TSU did it and these schools allĀ  over the state do it."

After the massacre at Colombine High School, NRA Director Wayne LaPierre had strong words against guns on school grounds.

"First, we believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools. That means no guns in America's schools, period," LaPierre said at a press conference in 1999.

The NRA has since changed its position. In the recommendations from its National School Shield Task Force Report, it suggests school staff be trained and armed, a move the OFF supports.

"Wayne LaPierre said schools should be gun-free zones at a time when he clearly didn't know what he was talking about," Starrett said.


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