As I noted the other day, the recent Oregon shooting was in a gun-free zone — a fact omitted by Barack Obama in his admittedly “policitized” remarks on the subject:
Notably, the fact that the shooting happened in a “gun-free zone” — as these mass shootings almost always do — was not mentioned.
Leftists now claim that the campus was not actually a gun-free zone. What they ignore is that virtually everyone who might have been carrying a gun thought it was. And if everyone believes a campus is a “gun-free zone,” then guess what? It is.
Details in the extended entry.
Here’s the Guardian, citing a pro-gun-control spokesman:
What is clear, Erika Soto Lamb, communications director at Everytown for Gun Safety, wrote in an email, is that “Oregon law actually forces colleges to allow guns on campus grounds”.
Oregon is one of fewer than a dozen states, along with more conservative counterparts like Mississippi and Utah, which allow concealed carry on college campuses.
At Umpqua Community College, the site of Thursday’s tragedy, the policy change came in a meeting of the board of directors on 9 November 2011. According to the minutes, the Oregon Community College Association legal counsel “spoke about the gun law changes which affect the ability to carry a concealed weapon on campus”.
As a result, the counsel noted: “If you have a concealed weapon card, the policy of the board may not restrict a person from carrying a weapon.”
Umpqua’s policy soon changed to allow guns on campus, although “at the time of the shooting, Umpqua Community College had as strong a policy as Oregon law permits”, Lamb said.
Here’s the problem: if that was the law, nobody seemed to know it. Here’s the college president claiming the campus is a gun-free zone:
Possession, use, or threatened use of firearms (including but not limited to BB guns, air guns, water pistols, and paint guns) ammunition, explosives, dangerous chemicals, or any other objects as weapons on college property, except as expressly authorized by law or college regulations, is prohibited.
Lefties argue that the phrase “except as expressly authorized by law or college regulations” means that the state law cited by the Guardian trumps. Here’s the problem: if guns were permitted on campus, that information had not made its way to the college’s president, or to the people who wrote the college’s Student Code of Conduct. Either that, or it had — and those individuals were actively trying to mislead students. Either way, students were misled into believing that the campus was a gun-free zone. And so, de facto, it was.
Lefties cite interviews with student John Parker, who said he had a gun but was too far away to do anything. Lefties demand to know: how did Mr. Parker, the guy with the gun, know the policy? As NBC News has reported, he didn’t:
Parker said he had no idea what the UCC policy is on concealed carry and hadn’t bothered to check.
“I don’t care what the policy is,” he said. “I know what the law is.”
In knowing the law, Parker is evidently the exception and not the rule. Kevin Starrett, the executive director of the Oregon Firearms Education Foundation, told NBC News that (as you might guess) most students are confused by policies that defy the law:
Much of the remaining confusion about whether licensed concealed carry is allowed, Starrett said, arises from the fact that many schools, fair boards and other entities continue to post signs and adopt policies either stating or strongly implying that guns are not allowed.
. . . .
Regarding UCC’s policy on concealed carry, Starrett said, that may explain why gun control advocates could have gotten the impression that it was a “gun-free zone,” despite law to the contrary.
Umpqua Community College says “possession, use, or threatened use of firearms … except as expressly authorized by law or college regulations, is prohibited,” according to its website.
Starrett said arguments — which his group has encountered in the past — that state statute doesn’t expressly allow guns on school campuses are incorrect. “Most students see the rules and they just think that’s what it means and they obey them,” he said.
By the way, Starrett says that the court ruling cited in the Guardian piece doesn’t directly “address” Umpqua Community College:
Starrett told NBC News Friday that while the court’s ruling didn’t directly address community colleges like UCC, “It’s doubtful that community colleges could make the case that they have the right to do it (ban guns on campus).”
So in the end, students probably do have the right to carry guns at Umpqua and schools like it in Oregon. But almost nobody knew this. Students were told they couldn’t. The college president thought they couldn’t. The one guy they have found who had a gun on campus didn’t even check the policy. In knowing state and federal law on the subject, he is clearly an unusual case.
And so, in effect, this college was a gun-free zone.
Again, for whatever reason, mass shootings almost always happen in gun-free zones. This one does not buck that trend — no matter how much leftists try to rewrite history.