Safety trumps allowing guns on UK property

Kernel Editorial

Epidemiology graduate student Michael Mitchell suing UK for wrongful termination is definitely causing a stir.

Mitchell filed a lawsuit against the university stemming from being fired last April for gun possession on campus.

While Mitchell and anyone who goes through the proper channels to obtain a concealed weapons license has the right to carry, once they are on campus, UK has the say.

“We’re arguing that (their right to regulate) is restricted to some extent by this other statute,” Christopher Hunt, an attorney for Mitchell, said.

According to a Feb 3. Kernel article, state law says if an individual is in possession of a firearm and keeps the weapon in his or her vehicle and does not remove it, then that individual is not guilty of a crime.

However, according to UK administrative regulations passed in June 2007, any student or faculty member, even if he or she possesses a permit to carry a weapon, is prohibited from carrying it on any campus-owned or leased property including parking lots.

Colleges have the right to regulate the possession of concealed weapons on university-owned properties, according to the Kentucky State Police Web site. Nationally nearly all public universities ban student possession of concealed weapons.

UK’s main responsibility is to maintain the safety of all individuals on campus and having people who are not the law toting around weapons could be a potential problem.

Police and other campus safety personnel are trained on  how to handle campus crises. Having private citizens attempt to maintain safety during a potential crisis would only compromise the ability of safety official during an escalating situation.

To his credit, Mitchell was extremely compliant, following the orders of UK Police. He may not have deserved to have lost his job based on the infraction, but UK had to act, as it and any other campus would, to ensure the safety of students is upheld.