| 03.17.2018

Expanding gun policy

Policy to include bans on additional weapons

Humans vs. Zombies fans can take a sigh of relief — Nerf guns will not be banned from campus under the university’s updated weapons policy.

“We had Humans vs. Zombies players who are deathly afraid that their favorite campus activity would disappear,” said Connor Kennelly, undergraduate representative on the University of Idaho Faculty Senate.

Matt Dorschel, executive director of Public Safety and Security, met with Faculty Senate Tuesday to explain a new proposed weapons policy and receive feedback and suggestions from senators.

Dorschel said while Nerf guns are safe, the policy would ban non-culinary knifes longer than 4 inches and pellet guns powered by compressed air or springs.

The task of changing the weapons policy came out of a task force formed to create a policy surrounding the concealed carry gun law that went into effect earlier this year, Dorschel said. He said the task force agreed there needed to be a policy to account for other dangerous weapons.

Since the passage of the concealed carry law, Dorschel said he has received calls from the parents of potential students, wondering what weapons are allowed on campus.

“We thought it was a good idea to restrict some of the more common dangerous weapons from being carried around on campus,” he said.

The proposed policy lists a number of weapons not allowed on campus, including death stars, Nunchucks, artificial knuckles, Tasers and bows and arrows.

At the request of senators, Dorschel said he would add language to ban all items fitting a general description of weapons, even if they’re not specifically listed in the policy.

After the edits are made, Dorschel said he will send it back to Faculty Senate for a final review.

As for fake weapons or props, the policy states fake weapons would not be allowed on campus under the new policy, unless they are associated with an academic program or university activity and approved by Dorschel’s office.

Dorschel said receiving an exception to the weapons policy for a university course or activity could be as simple as calling his office for approval.

“I definitely don’t want this to be a cumbersome process,” he said.

The proposed policy would not allow stun guns or Tasers on campus, a point that raised concern from one senator who knows individuals that carry Tasers as a self-defense weapons.

“Stun guns and Tasers are not considered a very good self-protection weapon,” Dorschel said. “They are more dangerous to the holder than they are to the assailant.”

Although he has objections to Tasers, Dorschel said if he saw large support for allowing Tasers on campus he would be willing to alter the policy.

Dorschel said he is willing to meet with Faculty Senate members or ASUI representatives to refine and improve the policy language.

He also said his office is not in a big rush to approve policy into the Administrative Procedure Manual, but would like to see the policy go into effect sometime early next year.

Ryan Tarinelli can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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