New laws will not affect COCC’s firearm policy

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Photo by Derek Oldham | The Broadside

Your second amendment rights do not apply on school grounds.
“No guns on campus,” said Seth Elliot, Central Oregon Community College’s Public Safety supervisor, “even if you do have a concealed weapons permit.”
Carrying a concealed weapon on campus is prohibited, according Elliot, and the policy covers all school grounds, including parking lots.
New gun legislature introduced to Oregon this year will not affect community colleges, explained Elliot.
“Right now the new laws… don’t really change what we’re doing,” Elliot said. “We’ll continue with our policy.”
If Senate Bill 347 is passed, firearms would be prohibited in K-12 school buildings, according to the Senate Committee on Judiciary. Schools would then be allowed to adopt written firearm policies and non-compliant individuals would be charged with “criminal trespassing.”
COCC’s firearm policy would need to be evaluated, according to Elliot, if at some point, new laws go into effect that challenge policy.
There are individuals who feel COCC’s firearm policy interferes with their constitutional rights, according to Elliot.
“Some people feel safer with their own [firearm]” Elliot said. “They say, ‘Hey, I need to be able to protect myself, the college can’t always protect me,’ and some people see the second amendment implications as trumping everything.”
Except for when used by an “authorized civil authority in the discharge of their duty,” firearms are not allowed on campus; according to Ron Paradis, COCC’s director of College Relations.
COCC’s Board of Directors are empowered by the state to make policies for the college, stated Paradis.
Anyone in violation of COCC’s firearm policy would be confronted by campus security, explained Elliot.
“It’s certainly something that if we see or hear about, we’re going to respond to,” Elliot said, “and there’s college policy behind that.”
Individuals in violation of COCC’s firearm policy could be asked to leave the campus, according to Paradis.
“In the few times that has happened,” Paradis said, “the person agreed to abide by the policy.”
If a student was found in possession of a firearm in Juniper Hall, they could be facing suspension from the dormitory and/or the school, according to Paul Wheeler, COCC’s on-campus housing coordinator.
“[COCC’s firearm policy] is about the safety and security of students and staff,” Wheeler said. “It’s a policy that I know the college takes very seriously.”
University gun laws: OSU-Cascades follows COCC policy, for now
Oregon State University-Cascades enforces its own gun policy.
OSU-Cascades enforces the “Oregon University System’s internal firearms policy,” that the State Board of Higher Education approved in 2011, according to The Oregonian.
Although OUS firearms policy is not identical to COCC’s, according to Elliot, their’s is “pretty tight” as well.
While OSU-Cascades is part of the OUS, the OSU Cascades building is on COCC property.
“For now,” Paradis said, “they follow our policies.”

–Megan Campbell

The Broadside

https://www.midoregon.com/accounts/student.shtml

(Contact: mcampbell@cocc.edu)

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