9/09/2006

Utah Supreme Court Shoots down University of Utah Gun Ban

The state's highest court ruled Friday that the University of Utah has no right to ban guns on campus, rejecting the argument that prohibiting firearms is part of the school's power to control academic affairs.
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.

2 Comments:

Blogger saturdaynightspecial said...

"...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..." [Lott]

I would say they are as fearful off campus, and know they can't do anything about it (off-campus). Anti-gunners (and gunphobes) will try to ban em where ever they can, regardless of the obvious hypocrisy. Gun banners are obvious liars. This is also another symptom of anti-gun brainwashing by the media.

9/10/2006 6:42 PM  
Blogger Doug V. said...

"...The university may not subject a student to academic discipline for flashing his pistol to a professor in class."

For a state Supreme Court Chief Justice, Chief Justice Durham shows either a surprising lack of basic knowledge, relative to Utah gun laws, or displays a tendency toward disingenuous comments made for public consumption.

I’ve been certified by the state of Utah as a concealed weapons instructor. Half of what we teach students is gun safety; the other half is devoted to the legal ramifications associated with carrying a concealed weapon.

UCA 76-10-506 states: “Threatening with or using dangerous weapon in fight or quarrel. Every person, except those persons described in Section 76-10-503, [felons, et. al.] who, not in necessary self defense in the presence of two or more persons, draws or exhibits any dangerous weapon in an angry and threatening manner or unlawfully uses the same in any fight or quarrel is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.”

Technically, the Chief Justice is right, the University couldn’t subject the individual to academic discipline for brandishing a weapon...but the school certainly could have the individual arrested and thrown in jail under existing laws prohibiting the brandishment of a weapon.

If a student “flashed his pistol to a professor,” the school can subject the individual to academic discipline for disrupting the class or expel the student for threatening the instructor...but not specifically for carrying a gun.

I presuppose that Chief Justice Durham is a student of the art of splitting legal hairs. As another famous proponent of gun control once said to the courts on the need for exactness when spinning an interpretation of the law, “I guess it all depends on what the definition of ‘is,’ is.” –Oh, that’s right, he didn’t win his legal argument either.

9/14/2006 3:06 PM  

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