Opinions differ on college’s gun policy

Out of all colleges in Washington, South Puget Sound Community College is the only known school that allows guns on campus.

Although Washington law largely prohibits guns in both elementary and secondary schools, it makes no mention of college campuses. Most Washington colleges have policies prohibiting guns on college grounds.

Director of Security Lonnie Hatman said SPSCC’s gun policy is an old one.

“It has been the same as long as I know,” he said.

Criminal justice professor Warren McLeod is a proponent of SPSCC’s gun policy. He has a concealed carrying of a weapon (CCW) permit, and owns many firearms. He said he carries for personal safety, and he said that the campus’ policy makes SPSCC a safer place.

“Putting guns in the hands of responsible gun owners, plus providing training for them, helps us be safer,” he said.

McLeod said he believes in not only allowing people to be armed, but in properly training them to handle their weapons. He said, “All citizens should have to go through qualifications.”
Sociology professor Eric Chase is less supportive of the gun policy. While he is a gun owner and a strong supporter of second amendment rights, he said he isn’t comfortable with people bringing guns to the classroom.

“It isn’t a matter of safety; it’s about whether we’re setting up the classroom for education or intimidation,” Chase said. He said having students armed with weapons will stifle class discussions and intimidate other students. “[A student] may not want to talk because the person they’re debating has a glock strapped to their hip,” he said.

Pumphrey has been quoted as saying, “I’m not being facetious when I say that it is already illegal to shoot people.”

Pumphrey’s retirement in February is fast approaching however, and it is uncertain where his replacement, Timothy Stokes, will stand.

When Tim Stokes, SPSCC’s new President starting on Feb. 1, was asked for his opinion on SPSCC’s gun policy, he said that he has not had enough time on campus to get a good enough idea of what he thinks is best for the school.

“I believe it is important for me to have much more information before forming an opinion on something as volatile as gun control policy,” said Stokes.

Chase said it is time for SPSCC to have an open dialogue about the current policy. He said, “There are a lot of people who don’t want to be around guns. This is a school, not a gun club.”

Student Matthew Stidham said he disagrees with the policy as well. “I think we are running a horrible risk,” said Stidham. He said SPSCC is endangering students with the policy and should ban guns on campus. Far from feeling safer, Stidham said, “I feel like I’m more in danger.”

McLeod said a stricter policy would only make things more dangerous.

He said, “A shooter won’t care about the school’s policy, whether they allow guns or not; they are just there to murder. The shooting that happened at the mall in Oregon was actually stopped by a citizen who pulled out a gun and pointed it at the shooter. That didn’t get much news coverage, though.”

Student Kyle Black said the same. “People that want to shoot us are going to come and shoot us whether we allow guns on campus or not,” he said. Black, although not currently a gun owner, said he may decide to purchase a firearm. “I would like to be able to make a difference before the police showed up if someone came at me with an armed weapon.”

McLeod said his biggest problem is with Washington’s current CCW laws. “We need to have complete mental health background checks, because right now, you just check a box saying that you don’t have any mental health problems,” he said. He believes that a system requiring thorough background checks, as well as regular practice with firearms, would do far more for college safety than the banning of guns.

Chase said those who carry should be properly trained in the use of firearms. “On the other hand, I don’t trust the government, and I don’t really want them to have a long list of who owns guns,” he said.

8 comments on “Opinions differ on college’s gun policy
  1. In this article the author refers to a member of SPSCC’s faculty as having a “Concealed Carry of a Weapon” which is abbreviated as CCW. Such a permit does not exist in Washington State. What the author is possibly referring to is a State issued “Concealed Pistol License” which is abbreviated a CPL.

  2. In this article the author refers to a member of SPSCC’s faculty as having a “Concealed Carry of a Weapon” license which is abbreviated as CCW. Such a permit does not exist in Washington State. What the author is possibly referring to is a State issued “Concealed Pistol License”.

  3. Lets try a hypothetical real quick: If you were going to do the unspeakable and bring a weapon onto campus for malicious intent. Would you choose a campus that allowed it’s patrons to carry weapons or one that weapons weren’t allowed on?

  4. I just applied for my concealed pistol permit, and they just don’t hand it to you after you fill out a paper. Buying a pistol you have to fill out forms and have a background check done on you before you can actually walk out of the shop with the gun. It took two weeks for them to let me come by and pick up my pistol. When I applied for the concealed permit I had my fingerprints taken and filled out another form with even more in-depth background checks. These checks cover any state and federal criminal histories, registered mental issues, and so forth.
    Those who follow the weapon laws, who buy them legally and legally obtained a permit to conceal the weapon are not rogue gunmen “Living in the wild west”. Most sensible concealed pistol permit owners do not flash around their guns. Hell most don’t even talk about it unless another gun owner drags them into a conversation about times at the firing range. Those who flash their weapons around should be cited, those who do not should not. Don’t ask Don’t tell (and don’t display) is the best policy in this case. If I carry I don’t want to wear it on my hip for everyone to see when I’m wearing civilian attire, because I know that could be intimidating in this campus environment compared to when I have to wear my sidearm on my hip in uniform.
    Because security doesn’t carry weapons, if a disgruntled student, former student or other comes on campus waving a gun of any kind around, it will usually take the police to arrive in 10+ minutes. If that individual is really motivated to hurt people, it only takes 1 second to pull a trigger. A student or faculty carrying a side arm with a concealed pistol permit could help defuse the situation till the police arrived.
    I would love to live in a world where we don’t need weapons, but anyone can buy a rifle or a shot gun, especially if its from black market, a friend, or other non legal sources.
    Then you have to ask yourself, does not allowing responsible adults having a concealed weapons permit violate the constitutional right to bare arms? Last I checked this was still America.
    I honestly think most people who are apposed to concealed carry are those who are uneducated about the laws and are scared due to that ignorance (no offense). The TV media plays on our fears to help sell a story. Most issues are overblown with the grim side of the story. Unbiased journalism seems to be a dying breed these days.
    I don’t support open carry though in this kind of setting. That is completely unnecessary and disruptive. In truth,I honestly would be more scared of a guy who has a huge knife strapped to his leg or other body part than knowing that guy over there carries a concealed pistol every day in his backpack.
    Just some words from an Army Veteran.

  5. i say we go to war with the government! they are olbiousvy trying to take our right away slowly and this isnt right!! Our rights is to own guns! but to carry is olbiousvy a privliage.. but still all the extra price’s on ammo and? guns extra steps to buy them its stupid really we need to fight back for our government to be fixed! thats wat the whole point of the 2nd admendment was for incase we had to go to war with our government again

  6. i say we go to war with the government! they are olbiousvy trying to take our right away slowly and this isnt right!! Our rights is to own guns! but to carry is olbiousvy a privliage.. but still all the extra price’s on ammo and? guns extra steps to buy them its stupid really we need to fight back for our government to be fixed! thats wat the whole point of the 2nd admendment was for incase we had to go to war with our government again

  7. i say we go to war with the government! they are olbiousvy trying to take our right away slowly and this isnt right!! Our rights is to own guns! but to carry is olbiousvy a privliage.. but still all the extra price’s on ammo and? guns extra steps to buy them its stupid really we need to fight back for our government to be fixed! thats wat the whole point of the 2nd admendment was for incase we had to go to war with our government again

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