Matt Dorschel, (left)

Last week, the University of Idaho – where concealed carry is legal – held a forum to discuss guns on campus. The main presenter was Matt Dorschel, university executive director for public safety and security. While the forum attracted only a few students and faculty, the policy presented was radical . . .

From the Lewiston Tribune (pdf):

Dorschel said any firearm sighting is grounds to call 911 even if a person is not purposely showing their weapon. He said firearm holders have a responsibility to conceal their weapons and they are violating the university’s policy if they don’t.

Despite this strict interpretation of the concealed carry law, it is unclear what the repercussions might be if a carrier can prove they have a concealed carry permit and were not intentionally showing the firearm. Aside from being asked to conceal or remove the weapon, Nelson said it’s unlikely there would be any further punishment in these minor situations.

Back in September, Dorschel said essentially the same thing. From the uiargonaut.com:

Nelson said faculty should contact police even if they see a firearm for a brief moment.

“We will not question a decision to call 911,” he said.

This is very close to “SWATting” people who are legally carrying firearms.  The article says that this is a “strict” interpretation of the law, but it goes far beyond that. Nothing in the law that I’ve read indicates that individuals with the enhanced permit have to conceal their firearms. The enhanced permit merely allows them to carry concealed weapons. It doesn’t require them to carry concealed weapons.

Idaho law does not prohibit the open carry of firearms, although the law allows open carry of firearms to be regulated on a college campus for people who do not have the enhanced concealed carry permit. The wording of the wording of he law which restricts the authority of public colleges and universities is clear:

(2)  Notwithstanding any other provision of state law, this authority shall not extend to regulating or prohibiting the otherwise lawful possession, carrying or transporting of firearms or ammunition by persons licensed under section 18-3302H or 18-3302K, Idaho Code.

Neither 18-3302H or 18-3302K, referenced above, requires that holders of these permits carry their weapons concealed. That would be absurd. It would mean that they could never carry a rifle or shotgun, even while hunting. It would mean that they would be more restricted than people with ordinary permits or without permits at all, because they wouldn’t be allowed to carry weapons openly.

From the Idaho Constitution:

Idaho Constitution Article I, Section 11
The people have the right to keep and bear arms, which right shall not be abridged; but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to govern the carrying of weapons concealed on the person nor prevent passage of legislation providing minimum sentences for crimes committed while in possession of a firearm, nor prevent the passage of legislation providing penalties for the possession of firearms by a convicted felon, nor prevent the passage of any legislation punishing the use of a firearm. No law shall impose licensure, registration or special taxation on the ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition. Nor shall any law permit the confiscation of firearms, except those actually used in the commission of a felony.

The state constitution seems quite clear; open carry of firearms shall not be abridged, but the carry of weapons concealed on the person may be regulated by law.

Nonetheless, the UI policy maintains that the law specifically allows the university to prohibit the open carry of firearms on campus. From uidaho.edu:

Q 14. Does the new statute prohibit open carry of firearms on University property?
A – Yes. The law specifically allows the University to continue to prohibit open carry of firearms on University property. Open carry of firearms on University property is a violation of the Board of Regents and University policy.

However, the Q & A document never cites any applicable law that grants them the authority to ban the open carry of firearms by people with enhanced permits; they repeatedly only state that it is University policy.

People who go to the trouble of obtaining an enhanced permit are extremely law abiding. They don’t seek out trouble, but go to considerable lengths to avoid it. The permit is available to those from out of state, but the intricacies of the requirements effectively mean that you have to go to Idaho to obtain the permit if you are not a retired law enforcement officer.

The chances of someone challenging the absurd UI interpretation of the law are small. It’s unlikely that a retired black female FBI agent will stroll through the UI campus with an obviously unloaded hunting shotgun over her shoulder. Still, I think a YouTube video of such an event would be a hit.

Rights not exercised are rights lost. Perhaps an alum of UI would perform this act of strong, symbolic, political speech to show that the disarmenters and hoplophobes among UI officials are all hat, no cattle.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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39 Responses to Is the University of Idaho Encouraging the “SWATting” of Legal Gun Carriers?

  1. More and more it seems like all anti gun people are spoiled brats that go kicking and screaming when they don’t get their way

    • This exactly. They are so child like and have been losing so much they cling on the straws of trying to make life as hard as possible for though of us who choose to defend ourselves. It’s so pathetic and sad.

    • Let’s be honest, that’s every losing side of a political issue. Gay marriage, gun rights, religious freedom, etc.

    • Here’s what you do. A handful of conceal carry buddies start calling 911 falsely claiming ‘oh we could see someone’s gun.’ At 1st there’s responses but other witnesses contridict and testify it was completedly concealed. A half a dozen times of this in one week by varying parties, then a few follow up incidents and it can get pretty old to the local law enforcenments. Then the University drops telling everyone to call 911 if something remotely imprints like a gun.

  2. Go ahead and “sat” someone like me who knows both the state and federal laws. Good way for swat to be legally shot dead.

    • If the police have reasonable suspicion they can detain someone. The police can, in good faith, have reasonable suspicion if they are advised by a witness that someone is engaged in criminal activity *even if that person later is proved to be innocent*. If one shoots the police while said police are lawfully going about their duty (misinformed on purpose or by accident by someone) it is not ‘lawful’ to shoot them, no matter what the internet commandos say. Sometimes the police detain someone based on them looking like a guy who just robbed the Quick-E-Mart next door even though it just happened to be someone in similar clothes. In the end the only way to determine the legality of such an action would be in court, which you are unlikely to see if you start shooting at cops. How is that a win over fighting it the legal way?

      • While it is not a win for anyone (except those who wish for spilt blood) I imagine he is thinking of a more literal swatting where officers come in hot and perhaps shooting. In the best scenario the operator or officer informs the caller of the law after establishing the lack of threat then perhaps visits the “offender” to remind him/her to tuck their shirt in. Most likely and not all that bad though is a slightly more forcefull response to ascertain the situation by competent officers that know how not to turn a minor non incident into a bloodbath. The callers will learn either the lawfull nature of CC or learn that they won’t get the dramatic result they want and likely stop wasting everyone’s time. And if they don’t the cops may just stop wasting theirs by sending units at all.

    • Lets all take a deep breath here.
      This is a real stretch to call this SWAT’ing. Are they being a**holes, because they don’t like you doing something they don’t agree with? Yes. Is anybody but them going to notice? Probably not.
      SWAT’ing is a criminal act when you call 911 with a made up story of a hostage situation or silmilar that guarantees an aggressive response to an emergency situation.
      So don’t take the bait and over react to some pompous “Educators” huffing and puffing, which makes you look just as silly as them.

      • I’m not buying it. I do get what you’re saying, though. Calling 911 to report you saw someone with a gun on a campus is not the same thing as calling 911 to report, fictitiously, that you just saw home invaders shoot up the neighbor’s house and the screams are ongoing. I get it.

        The substance of the calls are not the same and the magnitudes of what’s alleged are not comparable. Moreover, the intentions are different in that one is an evil prankster trying to get someone else hurt, while the other is either a harmless hoplophobe or a genuinely concerned citizen. Sound about right? OK. I still don’t buy it.

        911 must be reserved for true emergencies. Think for five seconds and you’ll conclude that any spree shooter is going to start shooting immediately upon revealing his weapon. If you’re seeing it at all, you’re either seeing the muzzle or you’re seeing someone else see the muzzle. A simple, casual and passing glimpse of an otherwise concealed sidearm is not a red flag to a spree shooting.

        Yet, calling 911 to report a man in campus with a gun will precipitate exactly a full on SWAT response to a spree shooter. SWAT teams can have their own “I wish a MFer would…..” mentality going on. Intentions don’t matter when the consequences are not only foreseeable, but obvious and assured. That’s recklessness on the part of a 911 caller, regardless whether they’re just jacking with you or they’re irrationally afraid of self-defense firearms.

        Likewise, it’s irresponsible and unprofessional for the campus top cop to enlist pearl clutchers in his crusade against freedom, so as to provide legal and political cover for himself. It’s just a matter of time before somebody gets hurt, which doesn’t have to happen, and antis will start clamoring for repeal.

        • I think we need to find sympathetic prosecutors and police that will use existing statutes against conspericy and organized crime to proscicute people who advocate “swatting” and also sue and proscicute the organizations that allow , promote or in other ways involve themselves in this criminal activity. I know RICO cases could be used BUT not without a political change( one does seam likely) but doesn’t states have similar organized crime or racketeering laws?

  3. I completely disagree with his statement that any sight of a gun is to be swatted, but I see what the purpose behind their ridiculous statements is about. They don’t want a mass murderer to be spotted and ignored, yet they are willing to hurt innocent people with the intent of preventing innocent people from being hurt.

    • I’ll go ahead and go out on a limb, and predict that there won’t be any mass murderers targeting a campus full of faculty, staff, and students openly and concealed carrying firearms. Every single mass shooting in the last 50-plus years has taken place in a “Gun Free Zone”.

      (The Gabby Giffords shooting is the lone exception, but that was a political assassination attempt, not a mass shooting. It is only lumped in as a “mass shooting” due to the number of people shot while the assassin was attempting to reach his target.)

  4. 200 years ago no self-respecting law-abiding citizen would ever be expected to carry a gun concealed. Only criminals who were trying to sneak around and had something to hide would carry concealed.

    My, how times change.

  5. I’ve come across people like Mr. Matt Dorschel, university Executive Director for Public Safety and Security, in a professional capacity over the years. Many security people in that position (i.e., University Executive Director) regard the territory as “MY campus” and the inhabitants as “MY people.” It sometimes comes with the title and the mindset, and nobody gets to challenge them in their personal fiefdom. It’s an ego thing. Often it leads to a bad ending for the university and VERY bad ending for the Executive Director. As in career ending bad.

    Just an observation from experience.

    • Had an experience with one of those campus chief of police from a prominent So Cal university of the liberal UC flavor many years ago in a personal real estate transaction. Wont bore with details, except to say we contacted a lawyer who agreed what he and his agent did was despicable, and immoral, but difficult to prosecute, so I let it go, having little spare money at the time.

      As a side note, his original agent and the escrow company hadn’t confirmed the deposit of what was then was a paltry $1000 security deposit. We got that back from his embarrassed agent, who was also taken in, and moved on, but it made me wonder, what kind of a person sells out their honor for money, $1000, especially in that kind of position.

      BTW, does that guy on the left have that crazy ‘I’m Bowe Bergdahl’s Daddy’ look?

      • “…it made me wonder, what kind of a person sells out their honor for money, $1000…”

        One who has no honor, since they never understood what the word meant.

  6. Yeah. Go ahead and make a bunch of needless 9-1-1 calls. Likely the response time will get longer and longer.

  7. “We will not question a decision to call 911,” he said.

    No, even if they wanted to CYA would demand they not do so… but an astute 911 operator will ask what the person is doing. If the answer is “sitting on a bench eating a sandwich” that should be a different response than “he’s shooting me!”

    And if the person lies, they should do serious time.

  8. If you feel UNSAFE, you absolutely should call the police.

    To help resolve this issue, we need to help make everyone feel SAFE around guns. I’d suggest that whatever “gun friendly” organizations are in the university take this PR approach – offer free gun safety classes, organize skeet/sporting shoots open to non-gun owners – the more familiar people are with firearms and safe firearm practices, the more they’ll realize that the firearms themselves are not the problem.

    • Does that mean agoraphobes should call the police whenever they step outside their house?

      No.

      Then why should hoplophobes call the police whenever they see a gun?

      By definition, hoplophobes always feel unsafe when they see a gun.

      ———–

      That said, I’m all about introducing new people to guns and helping them cure their hoplophobia.

      I once suffered from it, so I know it can be cured.

      • Right, that statement about agoraphobia doesn’t make sense from our point of view. The problem is, that they don’t see things from our point of view.

        Should we sentence an agoraphobic person for calling the police/fire department when they feel genuinely frightened? Or should we try our best to help them deal with and ultimately overcome their fears?

        • The problem is, that they don’t see things from our point of view.

          Agoraphobia not a point of view. It’s an irrational fear.

          Should we sentence an agoraphobic person for calling the police/fire department when they feel genuinely frightened?

          If the police keep having to respond to a false report, then the agoraphobe should be charged appropriately.

          ———–

          Let me use another example.

          Let’s say that I have an irrational fear of people of a certain race. You know, I just don’t “feel safe” around them, regardless of what they’re doing.

          And every time I saw a ____ person in my neighborhood, I called the police to report that I was afraid.

          Calling the police to report a person shouldn’t be about “feelings”…it should be based on behaviors that we observe.

  9. And what is to stop someone from calling 911 and reporting the above pictured white male as “possibly carrying a weapon?”

    More than one person can play this game. Academics never seem to realize that their tactics are funny – until they’re turned back on them.

    • Here’s a story about an obviously crazy radical professional victim professor who was finally held accountable:

      http://dailycaller.com/2014/08/19/ucsbs-mireille-miller-young-sentenced-to-three-years-probation-for-stealing-from-and-attacking-pro-lifers/

      Best thing to do with these SWATTING suggesting staff is just keep shining the light on them. Like cockroaches, they will scuttle off, or some graduate will call someone who knows someone. I would guess the more that the big University alumni donors, or alumni association gets word of it, the Board will make some calls.

      Somehow, I dont think this reflects Idaho culture, and they will swat the insects who are suggesting false reports on students legally carrying, thus putting their lives, and those of innocent bystanders in deadly jeopardy is somehow a good idea.

  10. The man who was killed in the Beavercreek, Ohio Wal-Mart would be alive today if some idiot hadn’t dialed 911 and reported a gun wielding man walking the aisles. Who can blame the cops (I don’t believe they gave him a chance to respond) but they were fed info about a crazed man aiming a weapon at people.

  11. When I went there in the mid-90s my frat roommate had 2 Ruger Mk IIs that were always laying around the room that everyone seemed to get into people’s hands who happened to be in our room or passing by, even Vandal girls knew more about guns back then. Now, that probably wasn’t the best policy looking back but the point is that there were exactly 0 problems or complaints having to do with them for about 3 years in a house of 60+ Animal House stunt doubles, even with visiting parents or administration. We had more problems worrying about keeping our weed smoking an “open secret”. Now, we would probably be in the Latah County jail within days, not because of problems, but because of indoctrinated spies of the state who happened to be students as well.

    The campus has (or had) a nice indoor gun range, though.

  12. With the prevalence of “SWATting”, the logical step for the police is to have their 9-1-1 operators actually ask a few questions, such as, “Has the person you observed with a firearm done anything at all that would make you suspect them of criminal behavior OTHER THAN simply having the firearm?”, “What, exactly…?”, and “Are you aware that making a false criminal complaint is, in itself, a crime?” Unfortunately, absent some horrific consequences for lawful carriers, and costly lawsuits, (and probably not even then) such logic will probably never be applied to these situations.

  13. Boise State University is playing this same game with their firearms policy, and we are going to have the Idaho legislature take a close look at their “interpretations” of the law.

    I would also suggest another way to deal with this: Anyone who has an outspoken, anti-gun professor should occasionally call the campus cops and say “I thought I saw Professor Leftist with a gun beneath his coat.” Be truthful – tell them you aren’t sure, but you just wanted to be ultra-cautious because you thought you saw “a firearm for a brief moment.”

    Use your anonymous $20 Wal-Mart Tracfone [bought for cash] for these kinds of helpful tips. When the campus cops have responded to 15 or 20 of these calls from fearful students, they will probably have a chat with Mr. Dorschel, and they might decide to “question a decision to call 911.”

    Only do this if you are REALLY SURE you thought you might have seen a firearm, and you are sure you are fearful.

    • When you call 911, be sure to explicitly tell them “I don’t feel safe.”

      Remember, it’s not about whether you’re actually safe…it’s about feeling safe.

      At least that’s what I understand from @Alex’s comments above (and also reading MDA material).

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