Conceal and carry privileges don’t extend to U property

Keeping guns in vehicles is an exception to the University policy, though.

Aidan M. Anderson

Means of personal protection on campus vary based on personal preference and practicality, and the legal carrying of firearms is not the most practical.

While Minnesota law allows people older than 21 who have received proper training and a permit to carry a pistol for personal protection, the Regent’s Policy does not allow the same privilege on University property.

The state Legislature allows public universities to establish their own regulations surrounding the carrying of firearms. The law states the institution cannot prohibit lawful carrying in parking facilities or parking lots.

Penalties for ignoring University policies could be severe. Student Judicial Affairs Director Sharon Dzik has been at the University for two years and hasn’t seen any firearm policy violations, but said such violations would probably result in expulsion or a very long suspension.

“I think that’s probably a pretty common sanction if a person is caught carrying a gun,” she said. “I’d venture to say if you polled other institutions, they would feel similarly.”

The University’s weapons policy states storing a firearm properly in a vehicle on University property is acceptable, but University Deputy Police Chief Steve Johnson cautioned against it.

“People steal things out of cars and there are a number of reasons you wouldn’t want a weapon stolen out of a car,” he said. “Not only do they lose something difficult to replace but it’s something that could be dangerous in the wrong hands.”

Students can store their firearms free at the University Police Department, Johnson said.

He said the department’s storage policy allows students who live in the residence halls to have access to their firearms for recreation or hunting.

The police department hasn’t received inquiries from students about carrying firearms on or near campus recently, he said.

Supply chain management senior Tom Nordling is only 20, but plans to apply for a permit to carry when he turns 21.

“There wouldn’t be a need for me to carry when I’m just walking around the city or anything like that,” he said. “It wouldn’t be an everyday thing, just nice to have.”

Common sense and responsibility are a determining factor in one’s decision to apply for a permit or carry, Nording said.

“You know if you’re going to a biology lab you probably don’t need a pistol on your hip,” he said.

People in this country have a right to carry guns, said Mike Mesch, an environmental design senior.

Mesch, president of the University’s archery club, doesn’t feel the need to carry a handgun, but he said having a permit to do so is a right under the Second Amendment. Training and background checks are important in issuance of the permits, he said.

“I’m a huge advocate of firearm training,” he said. “And we don’t want to be handing (permits) out to just anybody.”

Those seeking a permit to carry a handgun must apply in person at the sheriff’s department of the county in which they reside. They must provide a completed application form, a certificate from a firearms training course and a state ID or passport along with a $100 application fee.

Beyond curriculum requirements, the state does not have minimum time requirements for the instruction portion, said Len Breure, who holds a doctorate in criminal justice education.

Breure, a training coordinator at Bill’s Gun Shop and Range in Robbinsdale, conducts the training required for permit application.

The training consists of five hours in the classroom covering the fundamentals of shooting, everyday carrying issues, use of deadly force, and when and where carrying is permitted. The course also includes a shooting proficiency test at a gun range.