UMPD returns assault rifles

Following criticism, a school administrator announced plans on Friday to get rid of the guns.

Meghan Holden

The University of Minnesota Police Department is shipping back eight military-grade rifles amid concerns that they may be causing discontent on campus.

UMPD received six M-16s and two M-14s in 2006 through a U.S. Department of Defense program that allows police departments to receive military surplus.

The DOD will likely take back those guns, Vice President for University Services Pamela Wheelock said in an email to the University community on Friday, citing worries that the guns’ “presence on campus is divisive and distracts from the outstanding work being done by the officers of the UMPD.”

UMPD uses some of the M-16s for training purposes and reserves the rest for “active-shooter” situations, University police Chief Greg Hestness told the Minnesota Daily last month. He said officers have never used the M-16s in active duty, and the M-14s are still in their original boxes.

Without the rifles, “UMPD will still be equipped, trained, and prepared to protect the University community,” the email read.