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Miami prohibits gun possession on campus

By Catherine Monceaux
On February 18, 2013

According to Ohio's concealed carry law, universities are one of fourteen zones in which having a license doesn't allow one to possess a firearm.

As stated in the Miami University Policy and Information Manual (MUPIM), faculty, staff, students and visitors are prohibited from possessing firearms or any other weapon on campus. This policy also includes explosive devices, fireworks, BB guns and paint ball guns.

According to Chief John McCandless of the Miami University Police Department (MUPD), many students are unaware of what qualifies as a weapon.

"We've had people have [BB and Paintball guns] in their residence hall rooms, and typically when we contact them or RA's it's kind of a case of them not really knowing ..." McCandless said. "With the paintball guns, typically it's the case of them just not understanding they couldn't do it."

According to McCandless, if a student has a weapon they would like to bring to school, the police department will store it in a safe, free of charge. Most commonly, students store paintball guns. MUPD only asks they be given proper warning prior to students dropping off or picking up a weapon.

Susan Vaughn, director of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution, said that Miami University no longer gives a "code one" or "code two" as punishment and that penalties are case dependent.

Vaughn said she believes it has always been university policy to not be able to carry weapons on campus and that the policy has not been reexamined are added to despite recent tragic events.

"To the best of my knowledge, it has not been considered to change it in recent years," Vaughn said. "I'm responsible for reviewing and writing code for each year and it's never been reconsidered."

According to McCandless, there have always been members of Miami interested in being able to carry weapons on campus. In the past, Miami students have protested on campus as part of the nationwide organization, Concealed Carry on Campus. According to McCandless, the protests involved some wearing empty holsters around school in hope of renewing a push to change state legislation.

"There is a faction trying to get the legislation changed," McCandless said. "But it's a whole political process that has to happen."

As a police officer, McCandless said he doesn't think students should be allowed to posses any sort of weapon on campus, but he understands the passion of those who advocate for that right.

President of Miami's Pistol Club, senior Sean Crumley, agreed.

"Not everyone is knowledgeable of firearm safety and the possibility of some sort of accident due to ignorance is too great for me to justify having a legal firearm on campus," Crumley said. "Even if such a policy was changed to allow legal carry, I personally would not have a firearm on campus. It's just something I do not feel is necessary."

Sophomore Rachel Dawson agreed with having restrictions at Miami but believes students should have the ability to defend themselves.

"I think that there should be some restrictions as to what kind of guns should be allowed on campus," Dawson said. "I think it is a fundamental right that people should have to protect themselves in a dangerous situation."

McCandless said MUPD trains with other departments and organizations frequently to prepare for various scenarios, including shootings.

"Unfortunately, every time a tragic thing happens we try to make it a learning experience," McCandless said. "Even though it's unlikely here, we try to make sure we've thought about it after tragedies occur."


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