Advertisement

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

Advertisement

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.”

Comments

Barry Hirsh 1 year, 10 months ago

"Officers later made contact with the man and recovered a gun."

Correction: "Officers later made contact with the man and STOLE his gun."

0

begin60 1 year, 10 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.

0

begin60 1 year, 10 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.

0

UNIKU 1 year, 10 months ago

And some people have straw in their heads....

0

Tony Bandle 1 year, 10 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".

0

KansasLiberal 1 year, 10 months ago

There's no need for a gun in a dorm room.

0

beatrice 1 year, 10 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.

0

Gotland 1 year, 10 months ago

It is like Americans with all their rights are sneeking into these campuses.

0

smitty 1 year, 10 months ago

On the other side of the NRA coin comes this new law in Indiana:

http://www.standard.net/stories/2012/06/05/nra-backed-indiana-law-spells-out-when-citizens-can-shoot-police

.......Indiana is the first U.S. state to specifically allow force against officers, according to the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys in Washington, which represents and supports prosecutors. The National Rifle Association pushed for the law, saying an unfavorable court decision made the need clear and that it would allow homeowners to defend themselves during a violent, unjustified attack. Police lobbied against it.......

0

hipper_than_hip 1 year, 10 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?

0

paul85 1 year, 10 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.

0

Gotland 1 year, 10 months ago

I hear there is free speach going on in these dorm rooms as well.

0

gphawk89 1 year, 10 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.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.