Campus police not concerned by conceal carry law

By A.V. Sherk – Asherk@unca.edu – Staff writer

The new UNC Asheville concealed carry weapons law allows students to lock and load, but only as long as their concealed carry stays concealed.

“Anyone with a North Carolina concealed weapons permit can keep a concealed weapon in their vehicle as long as it remains in their vehicle and the vehicle remains locked,” Jason Hutchins, UNCA campus police officer said. “It’s just for pistols. The concealed weapons permit laws only cover handguns, and that’s what this legislation covers as well.”

In North Carolina, the process to obtain a concealed carry permit may take up to four to six months and includes a thorough background check as well as handgun safety classes. The legislation signed into law by Gov. McCrory now permits students to keep their pistol in the glove box of their vehicle; however, students still cannot carry their handguns on their person. According to Hutchins, most people who make time to abide by the legal procedures won’t become lethally armed criminals.

“I don’t see them doing this ‘Old West, carry it on their hip,’” Hutchins said. “I don’t have a problem with it. I went through and got my handgun permit at 21, when I was college age. Most people that are non-criminals are going to abide by the law and abide by the rules of the concealed weapons permit statute. (The people) going through the training class, the background check, I don’t see them causing problems.”

UNCA officials have sent out a mass email to all UNCA students covering UNCA’s crime record since 2010. Liquor and drug violations top the list. In 2012, 73 on-campus drug abuse violations, 127 liquor law violations and only two weapon violations occurred. For the last three years, weapon violations comprise the smallest category of offenses. Earlier this semester, an officer spotted a student wearing a hunting knife on his belt. The officer confiscated the student’s weapon and issued a warning to the student about UNCA’s weapon policy.

“There was a student on campus who carries on his belt a hunting knife, a fixed blade knife, and from what I remember, it was 3 or 4 inches long. Just kind of a medium-sized hunting knife, and our chief actually saw him on campus with it. He spoke to him and informed him we didn’t allow any kind of hunting knife or fixed-blade weapon on campus. So he sees the weapon, and brings the student in (to Vance Hall) then I checked it into evidence,” Hutchins said.

Although the student was in violation of university policy, he can pick up his knife from Vance Hall at any time.

“He is of age, he is an adult. He can pick it up later, it’s really up to our chief and his discretion,” Hutchins said. “What will probably happen – and I don’t believe he’s picked it up as of yet and it has been 30 days – is we will return it to his parents.”

The parallel between campus weapon regulations and N.C. state law on concealed carry is almost humorous, according to Logan Greenleaf, a UNCA alumnus.

“So wait, you can keep a gun in your car but you can’t carry a hunting knife? That seems kind of ironic,” Greenleaf said. “I mean, a person can do a lot more damage to a lot more people with a gun than a knife.”

Ashleigh Hillen, a UNCA sophomore said she carries a pocket knife and plans to obtain a concealed weapons permit once she is 21 years old.

“I don’t see a problem with it,” Hillen said. “As long as the gun isn’t brought into the dorms or school buildings, what harm can it do?”

According to Hutchins, students who hail from the rural regions of North Carolina are most likely to carry weapons.

“North Carolina is a state where a lot of people hunt, they fish, they garden, the whole nine yards,” Hutchins said. “So we have a lot of students that come here from rural areas and they have knives and they don’t realize you can’t walk around with your hunting knife with you on campus. Most men carry a small pocket knife or a penknife, especially in the South. I don’t have an issue with that for a college campus or in general. Things that aren’t allowed like the hunting knives, the fixed-blade knives, I don’t see why you would need that on campus.”

9 thoughts on “Campus police not concerned by conceal carry law

  • Pingback:SayUncle » Police on new NC carry law: meh

  • October 17, 2013 at 9:26 pm
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    ““I don’t see them doing this ‘Old West, carry it on their hip,’” Hutchins said. “I don’t have a problem with it. I went through and got my handgun permit at 21, when I was college age. Most people that are non-criminals are going to abide by the law and abide by the rules of the concealed weapons permit statute. (The people) going through the training class, the background check, I don’t see them causing problems.””

    If that is the case, then what is the problem with carrying a weapon?

    Only law breakers will be a problem, and not for long, if you allow the law-abiding to exercise their Second Amendment guaranteed Right without unlawful – no matter what the NSA-extorted but already corrupt Court says.

    Reply
  • October 17, 2013 at 10:20 pm
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    It’s so refreshing to know that there’s still some commen sense that exists.

    WAY TO GO UNCA!

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  • October 18, 2013 at 12:27 am
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    Thank you for this article. It seems as though the people you interviewed have uncommon sense. Cheers, Tycer

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  • October 18, 2013 at 1:36 am
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    Glad to see some Campus PDs are some sense. CCH permit holders aren’t the ones committing crimes and unnecessary regulations serve only to disarm the law abiding citizens while having no impact on criminals. However, I must disagree with Hutchins when he states that a larger knife (or even a concealed weapon, expanding upon his statement), is not needed on campus. College campuses are hot beds for non-student criminals to commit violent crimes such as armed robbery, sexual assault, and rape. Any honest police officer will admit that he/she is a reactionary member under no legal obligation to provide defense of members of the public, and further, that police officers are often too far away to prevent or stop a crime in progress. This is why we have the Second Amendment and CCH permit laws. It is up to you, the individual citizen, to protect yourself.

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  • October 18, 2013 at 7:44 am
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    Yet another instance of the 2nd Amendment being violated. The root cause of this prohibition restricting the carrying of firearms on campus is that those in charge don’t trust citizens to carry weapons to protect themselves who are old enough to fight & die to protect their country . What good is a gun in the car when a madman who has no regard for the firearm restriction opens fire in a classroom? Further, this rule is prejudicial toward the many students who WALK to class & don’t even have a vehicle to lock their gun in, and ignores that a “campus” is not one central location, but a patchwork of locales spaced between public areas that must be crossed. This represents a legal nightmare – you’re carrying legally, you’re carrying illegally, legally, illegally, etc., etc. This rule forces a young lady who is studying late in the library at night to walk to her off-campus home without the protection of a firearm. Pepper spray, whistles. martial arts, adequate? Ok, then why do police officers feel they need something more when THEY face a lethal threat? 911? Right, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away!

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  • October 18, 2013 at 10:38 pm
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    My Kelt3c PLR-16 is a pistol. 🙂

    Reply
  • October 19, 2013 at 5:45 pm
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    I want to thank the campus police at UNCA for acknowledging a citizen’s right under the 2nd amendment to carry a weapon. The first time a student is able to stop a situation on campus because they were armed this will seem like a no-brainer. Good job UNCA!

    Reply
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