Created: Wednesday, 18 April 2007 Written by Unregistered CorrespWhen a University bans guns, it's open hunting season for Arabs and Asians. Here is a little tidbit written two years prior to the Chinese War Declaration BLACKSBURG - Virginia Tech's recent action against a student caught carrying a gun to class could draw unwanted attention from groups already angry about firearms restrictions on public college campuses.
University officials confirmed that, earlier this semester, campus police approached a student found to be carrying a concealed handgun to class. The unnamed student was not charged with any crimes because he holds a state-issued permit allowing him to carry a concealed gun. But the student could face disciplinary action from the university for violating its policy prohibiting "unauthorized possession, storage or control" of firearms on campus.
Tech spokesman Larry Hincker declined to release the student's name or specifics of the incident, citing rules protecting student confidentiality. But Hincker said Tech's ban on guns dates back several decades.
Students who violate the school policy could be called before the university's internal judicial affairs system, which has wide discretion in handing down penalties ranging from a reprimand to expulsion.
"I think it's fair to say that we believe guns don't belong in the classroom," Hincker said. "In an academic environment, we believe you should be free from fear."
Most public colleges in Virginia ban or restrict guns on campus. But the root of that authority is murky, according to some observers.
Virginia law already prohibits students or visitors from carrying guns onto the grounds of public and private K-12 schools. The state also prohibits concealed weapons in courthouses, places of worship during a service, jails and on any private property where the owner has posted a "no guns" notice. State employees are barred from possessing guns while at work unless needed for their job.
But Virginia code is silent on guns and public colleges. And two bills seeking to give college governing boards the authority to regulate firearms on campus died in committee during this year's General Assembly session.
David Briggman, a resident of Keezletown in Rockingham County, has made it his personal mission to challenge state colleges' authority to enact tougher gun restrictions than the state.
Briggman, who is a former police officer, said he forced Blue Ridge Community College to allow him to carry a gun onto campus while a student. And he sued James Madison University over its ban on concealed weapons even among permit holders. While JMU's policy still stands, Briggman said he has been told by campus police officials that they will not arrest visitors who carry a gun legally.
"It's extremely easy to challenge university policy by looking at ... whether they are given the statutory authority to regulate firearms on campus, and of course, they're not," Briggman said Tuesday.
Hincker, meanwhile, said it is not unusual for colleges to have more restrictive policies than the state. As an example, Hincker said certain chemicals and explosives that are legal on the outside are prohibited in the classroom or in dormitories for safety reasons.
"We think we have the right to adhere to and enforce that policy because, in the end, we think it's a common-sense policy for the protection of students, staff and faculty as well as guests and visitors," Hincker said.
Virginia Tech also has the backing of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police. In a policy position paper dated April 1, association executive director Dana Schrad wrote that the presence of guns on college campuses "adds a dangerous element to an environment in which alcohol is a compounding factor." Students should not have to be concerned about guns on campus, Schrad wrote.
"The excellent reputation of Virginia's colleges and universities depends in part on the public's belief that they are sending their college-age children to safe environments," the policy paper reads.
At least one attorney who represents college students would like to see the concealed-carry permit issue clarified.
John Robertson, the Student Legal Services attorney at Tech, said he's heard differing interpretations of the policy at Tech. Robertson, whose position is funded through the Student Government Association's budget, does not represent students in disputes with the university but offers free legal advice and services to students on civil and criminal matters.
Robertson said he would like to see either a court or the state Attorney General's Office resolve the matter. As for a university's refusal to honor a concealed-carry permit, Robertson added: "I am dubious that one particular arm of the state can do so without a particular statute."
Hincker acknowledged that the concealed guns issue had "never been tested" and that the university could be opening itself up to legal action.
"But we stand by the policy unequivocally," Hincker said.
Liberals, Gun-grabbers, Academicians, Socialists and Hippies leave us vulnerable to Arab and Asian murder sprees.