Utah Supreme Court Shoots down University of Utah Gun Ban
Writing for the 4-1 majority, Utah Supreme Court Justice Jill Parrish said case law "is incompatible with the university's position."
"We simply cannot agree with the proposition that the Utah Constitution restricts the Legislature's ability to enact firearms laws pertaining to the university," Parrish wrote.
In a dissent, Chief Justice Christine Durham said policies that are reasonably connected to the school's academic mission are within its autonomous authority over academic affairs. Under the majority analysis, she said, "the university may not subject a student to academic discipline for flashing his pistol to a professor in class."
But no one will be permitted to carry a gun anytime soon on the campus, home to more than 44,000 students, faculty and staff members. Friday's ruling resolved only the state issues involved in the matter; the case now goes back to U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City for litigation of federal constitutional issues.
The delay is welcome to Landon Smith and Minna Shim, U. students who say they support the ban, which has been in place for almost three decades.
"It scares the hell out of me," said Smith, a senior in communication. "I don't want some cowboy coming to class with a gun."
Shim, an undeclared freshman, said, "I don't feel a threat here now, but if there are concealed weapons around, I'd be afraid." . . .
These last comments are a perfect example of how right-to-carry laws can effect people's views. It is not clear to me why these students are not equally fearful off of campus where concealed handguns are allowed, but, whatever the reason, their predictions about what will happen on school property will be quickly tested. Some people have to be shown in each venue that there will not be problems from law-abiding citizens with guns. But just as with all the other places that allow concealed handgun laws, the data makes me confident that these problems that these students fear will not occur.