Archive for Monday, June 11, 2012

Prosecutors still pondering action in case of gun in KU dorm room

Student’s legal right to possess weapon not entirely clear

June 11, 2012


Douglas County prosecutors are still reviewing whether to file charges against a 22-year-old Kansas University student who was accused of possessing a gun inside his scholarship hall room in April.

A Lawrence attorney says the case illustrates constitutional questions because a student’s campus dorm room is considered a student’s home, where the Supreme Court has ruled it’s a fundamental right for residents to possess firearms for protection under the Second Amendment.

“It’s an area of the law that is newly developing because of Supreme Court cases,” said defense attorney Carl Folsom, who is not involved in the case. “It seems like there’s not a lot of issues in Kansas at the state level.”

Gun control advocates say the law is clear, however, and that the courts have supported banning guns at government buildings, including universities.

“Schools are sensitive places,” said Daniel Vice, senior attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “The Supreme Court specifically said you can prohibit guns there.”

In the KU case, police said they were called to Battenfeld Scholarship hall, 1425 Alumni Place, by the hall director, who said she had received numerous reports that a resident had a gun in his room. Officers later made contact with the man and recovered a gun.

Folsom said the issue is interesting because many cases have established a student’s room at college is like his or her home, and in the landmark 2008 Heller case the Supreme Court ruled the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment protected an individual’s right to possess firearms for lawful purposes, including self-defense in the home. He also said he didn’t believe past challenges had yet covered the dorm room question.

But Vice said courts have found restrictions on guns at schools are presumptively lawful under the Second Amendment.

“You can see why. You have kids who are just going out on their own. There are drugs and drinking and lots of young people in confined spaces,” he said. “Having loaded guns there would be especially dangerous.”

Vice said nationally he’s heard that law enforcement officials oppose the argument in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, in which 32 people were killed and 17 were wounded, that allowing guns on campuses would help guard against campus shooters.

Folsom said a university policy against having guns in campus buildings, including in a student’s room, would be more likely to be fine. It gets more interesting, he said, if gun possession is a crime and not simply the breaking of a university rule because of past and potentially future rulings.

“My issue is when you make it a crime to do that, I would say it would probably be unconstitutional under the Heller case,” Folsom said, “but that it would be a close call for the court.”


gphawk89 5 years, 9 months ago

When I temporarily brought a shotgun to Grace Pearson I wasn't allowed to keep it in my room. The RD simply locked it in his closet. No further questions asked. No threat of prosecution. Sounds like scholarship halls have changed a bit.

Joe Berns 5 years, 9 months ago

The person has a right to personal protection and to defend himself/herself. I see no problem as long as the owner is legally able to possess the firearem.

Brock Masters 5 years, 9 months ago

But Paul didn't you read the article? They are people using drugs and drinking. Everyone knows others illegal activity trumps Constitutional rights

hipper_than_hip 5 years, 9 months ago

Is Vice saying that young people can't be trusted to do the right thing like stay out of trouble or make good decisions?

beatrice 5 years, 9 months ago

Now, show me your papers before you vote!

Yes, there are all kinds of limitations on rights.

beatrice 5 years, 9 months ago

To think, there are some who would have wanted to limit Jared Loughner's access to a gun as well! Dang anti Americans.

beatrice 5 years, 9 months ago

Since Loughner is a straw man, does that mean his victims aren't really dead?

I'm sure their loved ones will be overjoyed to hear the good news.

oldvet 5 years, 9 months ago

So is beatrice suggesting that medical records should be turned over to federal authorities so that people with mental health issues can be prevented from purchasing firearms during the background check? That might be OK for some to think about, but I am sure that most liberals would be concerned about the government having access to their medical records.

beatrice 5 years, 9 months ago

Are you suggesting that all people -- including the mentally ill -- should have free access to as many guns as they can get their hands on? Scary.

beatrice 5 years, 9 months ago

Umm ... actually, I don't want criminals to have guns. That is kind of the point. Nowhere have I written that I want all guns to be illegal to own. Why do you find it necessary to project your fears like that? Are you so unsure of your own stand on the issue that you must write things that are untrue about others?

What I find scary are those who act like nothing can be done about the problems that arise from the wide and liberal distribution of firearms, so they give up and think everyone should have an arsenal, including the mentally ill.

jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"The conservatives and republicans don't understand complex thoughts. For them, it's either black or white, with us or against us, and all firearms 100% legal or all firearms 100% banned. They don't understand nuance and are often confused by facts."

Those aren't really the exclusive hallmarks of conservatives or republicans. I think if you look around carefully enough, you'll see even just on this board that a black/white viewpoint, us or them mentality, and confusion at nuance are traits that know no political boundaries.

brutus 5 years, 9 months ago

Hmmm, how many rapes have happened in dorm rooms?

Cai 5 years, 9 months ago

there's no need for other personal possessions in a dorm room either, but i'd venture to guess that most people would prefer to have them.

I own a very small .22 that I like to target shoot with. My parents live a 14 hour drive away. I don't live in the dorms now, but if I did, given that said gun is completely legal, where else, exactly, am I supposed to keep it without giving up my legal right to entertain myself by legally shooting at the practice range?

Cai 5 years, 9 months ago

...That said, no one ever knew i had it while I was in the dorms. I'm not really sure what happened to make "several" people complain to the RA. And whether dude that has/had the gun is right or wrong, it clearly wasn't necessarily an intelligent decision to do whatever he did to let so many people see it.

DillonBarnes 5 years, 9 months ago

I believe you had the option to store it at the University of Kansas Public Safety office on Bob Billings.

Cai 5 years, 9 months ago

Upon looking, Dillon is correct. However, then said gun could only be retrieved or deposited M-F, 8am-5pm. So there'd be no ability to ever use the gun to shoot in the evenings, when the range is open. At the time, the gun range did not allow overnight storage rental, (I have no idea if they do now or not, but probably not).

Though the rules would be broken less if I say ... took the gun at 4 and returned it the next day, it still breaks the rules. Not to mention the hassle of dealing with it.

I do, however, wish to reiterate: why was the gun being observed so many times? I don't have enough information to condone or condemn the actions of the gentleman in question - but it probably should have been looked into if there were a lot of complaints.

Tony Bandle 5 years, 9 months ago

HAR HAR HAR..I spent five years in Stephenson from ''66-'71......the guys in B-Feld were weenies then and it looks like nothing has changed in the last 40 years!!!!!

Every Men's Schol Hall should hang a big target outside their buildings so everyone will know that the B-Feld Weenies are the "shooters".

begin60 5 years, 9 months ago

When the crooked Douglas County law enforcement is really out to get someone they will use every hateful, vindictive,southern-justice method at their disposal. They will connive with the low, dishonest KU HR staff to frame workers and students. So glad to be done with the bigoted community of Lawrence. Love your crooked neighbors with your crooked hearts, people. Intelligence is at a premium in the South and lower-Midwest. Unfortunately, I ran into very little of it in KS.

begin60 5 years, 9 months ago

Prosecutors like James McCabria and Katie Britton who agree to dishonest, back-stabbing, illegal terms for dismissing vindictively brought criminal cases in Douglas County such as banning someone from the backward, discriminatory state of KS need to dis-barred, and the freaking defense lawyers who suggest such barbaric things need to sanctioned by the KS bar!

Bye-bye hateful bigots of KS. Your criminal law enforcement and crooked KU- graduated judges all belong behind bars. Ola Faucher and the rest of felonious KU HR Department who love to lie and invent and tamper with evidence are even more sinister than the wicked witch of Oz.

DillonBarnes 5 years, 9 months ago


Thanks for coming, we enjoyed having you!


jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

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