Saturday, February 28, 2009

Oregon university gun ban challenged

From Oregon:
LEBANON -- Jeffrey Maxwell, a 30-year-old student at Western Oregon University who served in the Marines, always carries a loaded two-bullet derringer in his front pocket that's so small it looks like it could be his keys.

He has a license to carry and conceal the gun, but he never takes it out or talks about it on campus because he doesn't want to scare anyone. It's only for protection, he says.

State law allows him to carry his gun in most public places. But the university says he can't carry it on campus -- license or no license. Maxwell's case might finally settle the long-standing conflict in court for all seven public universities in Oregon.
Maxwell's gun rekindled the legal and legislative debate over guns on campus after campus safety officers received reports of a suspicious man with a large knife on campus one morning in late January.

Maxwell, who also had a 5-inch folding knife in his pocket, was sitting in the student union doing his homework when officers approached.

When Maxwell told officers he had the gun and knife in his pocket and an unloaded rifle in his truck, he was handcuffed and taken to the Monmouth Police station, where he was cited for possessing a firearm in a public building.

The Polk County district attorney later determined he had not committed a crime and didn't charge him. But a student judicial panel suspended him through the end of the spring term under a student conduct rule banning the possession or use of firearms and other weapons.

To re-enroll, Maxwell has been ordered to get a mental health evaluation and write a minimum 10-page paper on following the law, accepting responsibility for his actions and "recognizing the impact possession of weapons on college campuses has on others."

Maxwell has appealed the punishment.

Starrett said his firearms group is preparing a federal civil rights suit unless the university reinstates Maxwell and changes its firearms ban.

Article here. While I can appreciate the need for an unobtrusive carry gun, a two-shot derringer would not exactly be my choice as a primary gun. Maybe as a second or third gun, but definitely not as a primary gun. Given the anemic nature of handgun caliber rounds, you want more than two rounds on tap. As the old adage goes: Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

In addition, Mr. Maxwell was given away by his visibly carried folding knife, probably via the pocket clip, although the article doesn't say. In certain environments, carrying your knife (and gun) fully concealed will help you avoid unwanted attention.

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