Thursday, March 11, 2010

More Hoplophobia* on a College Campus

I am deeply concerned that a respected and peaceful Utah Valley University student, Nick Moyes, was confronted and unreasonably detained by police on the UVU campus simply because he was lawfully carrying a firearm:

Deseret News
Fox News
Daily Herald
Associated Press

According to the above Daily Herald article, the UVU chief of police said Mr. Moyes could not open-carry on campus without written approval and if he openly carries again, he could have his weapon confiscated and be charged with disruption of school activities. UCA § 53-5a-102 specifically denies the UVU chief of police any such power or authority. Although it happens far too often, there is no excuse or reason for any police officer or chief to be a bully.

Like all Utah Concealed Firearm Permit holders, Mr. Moyes has been certified by the FBI as one of the good guys. To possess a Concealed Firearm Permit, he had to undergo a background check, training in firearms safety and handling, and training in the laws regarding deadly force and the use firearms (something UVU police officers, including the chief, all apparently need more of). Having met those standards, UVU staff and students can be confident that Mr. Moyes is no threat to anyone except to a violent attacker. How much does the UVU administration and campus police know about the non-permit-holders on the campus?

In their official statement on this incident, the university administration declared that, absent a law specifically allowing open carry, it must be restricted. The administration, therefore, seems to believe we can only do what we are allowed to do -- that we can only do what we have government permission to do! That position is contrary to the our nation's founders' concept of individual liberty where government exists only to secure and protect God-given human rights -- not to ration them!

I assume that by now, the UVU administration has learned that this issue may not be the hill they want to die on. So, I urge the UVU president to ensure all UVU law enforcement officers, including the chief, are immediately and properly trained in the law regarding the lawful possession of firearms on state college campuses. These laws include:

Utah State Constitution, Article I, Section 6
UCA § 53-5a-102
UCA § 63-98-102
UCA § 76-10-500
UCA § 76-10-505.5
UCA § 76-10-523
• There is no law in Utah which addresses or restricts open carry in any way. If anyone can find one, add it to this list.

Mr. Moyes deserves an immediate, full, and sincere apology from the university, from the officers involved, and from the chief of the campus police.

The really silly aspect of banning guns on a college campus or anywhere else is that the ban only affects law-abiding people. Those who want to shoot up the school (a la Virginia Tech) will simply ignore any gun restriction. Ironically, a few days after this UVU incident, two people were shot at Ohio State University -- a gun-free zone. You see, criminals by definition don't follow the rules! That's why Nick Moyes needs a gun in school.

* Hoplophobia: From the Greek hoplon (weapon) plus phóbos (terror). An unreasoning, obsessive neurotic fear of weapons as such, usually accompanied by an irrational feeling that weapons possess a will or consciousness for evil, apart from the will of their user.

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