professor-tracy-tuten-courtesy-thewashingtondailynews-com

East Carolina University professor Tracy Tuten [above] said she had never been interested in guns and had never owned one,” washingtonpost.com reports, “until she felt the need to protect herself when a student stalked her several years ago. Now, the marketing professor wants to be able to carry a weapon at school and even said that she intends to practice her right to bear arms on campus — a violation of state law.”

Tuten began speaking of her Second Amendment rights about a week ago, when members of the university’s marching band kneeled during the national anthem to protest police shootings of African Americans. After the university’s chancellor issued a statement supporting the students’ right to express themselves, Tuten sent him an email saying she, too, will exercise her Second Amendment right to bear arms.

An American who cherishes her “God given” right to keep and bear arms to the point where she’s willing to face arrest and the loss of her job. That’s more than enough to qualify Professor Tuten for TTAG’s Gun Hero of the Day award.

That said . . .

Tuten has since backed off from her original statements and hasn’t carried a gun on campus. She said she doesn’t want to break the law, but she’s started advocating to local and state representatives about allowing people to carry concealed weapons on college campuses in North Carolina.

Interesting that Post writer Kristine Guerra buried that backpedaling bit further down in her article. I wonder if Professor Tuten is now operating under the assumption that concealed means concealed. If so, that’s entirely understandable, and doesn’t entirely negate our attaboy for her campus carry crusade.

But it’s also true — as the late Mike Vanderboegh believed — that every great civil rights movement needs a hero. Martyr? Someone willing to make a public stand to defend their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected rights. Be that guy.

53 Responses to Gun Hero of the Day: East Carolina University Professor Tracy Tuten

  1. Ok, TTAG lawyers,
    Suppose she decides to pack a heater in her purse.
    Under what lawful circumstances could that purse be searched while she is on campus?

    • Campus is a special case. As the overlords are in some sense responsible, for the safety and well-being of their charges, they have dispensation. It’s an interesting quasi public / private state, where the campus is private or public depending on what gives the administration the most arbitrary authority.

      In high school, they can require you to go, and require you to submit to searches because you are there. (What?)

      Colleges lose the leverage of mandatory attendance, but because you can “opt out” somewhat, they can argue that you put up with whatever imposition, by choice.

      • I have carried on college campuses several times, often wondering whether I was allowed to or not. The university apparently thinks not, but I don’t actually care what they think, since I am not employed by them, nor am I a student. I don’t think there are enough 30.06 signs in the world to post the UT campus in Austin. And concealed is concealed.

      • I recall in high school one administrator was doing random searches of students in the hallways. That came to an end when about fifty students informed the school board they’d start showing up naked in protest if it didn’t stop (I think the prim and proper board members were horrified at the thought of naked bodies).

        So someone needs to find a way to pull a similar stunt to support her.

      • It gets even stickier than that.

        The university I attended was private but most (not all) of the roads and sidewalks throughout campus were public. They also didn’t own all the houses that were on the campus. Therefore their authority to regulate firearms only applied to “on campus” as other areas, also part of the campus, were no different than any other public area in the city. Technically speaking CCW and OC were legal in these areas.

        A bunch of people had firearms on campus but not “on campus”. Which resulted in heated arguments with the campus police who didn’t know where public property ended and private property started. Fortunately the Chief of the campus police was a nice guy who actually knew the laws. He printed up detailed maps for his officers showing them where it was and where it was not legal for a student (or anyone else who wasn’t a LEO) to have a gun.

        It was still a sketchy situation because of the question of exactly where property lines were. I could drive on to campus legally carrying, go to a friends house legally carrying but not go to another friends house, nor even set foot in his front yard while carrying. The difference between 100% legal and a felony was literally a matter of inches and the barriers were not clearly marked.

      • “In high school, they can require you to go, and require you to submit to searches because you are there. (What?)”

        They can require you to go to *a* school, but they can’t require you to go to *their* school. If you want your child not to grow up getting used to having his/her rights violated at the state’s whim, consider private school, home school, or online school (e.g., http://www.primavera-online-high-school.com, which is even tuition-free).

    • Forcibly searched by police? Well, that’s an interesting question. A terry frisk can extend to a bag or purse, however in order to do so the person must not only be suspected of a crime but there must be suspicion that the person is armed and dangerous. Would a reasonable person believe this woman to be not only armed, but dangerous? I would argue no. The police could secure a warrant to search her person, of course, and then we’d have to see if a judge would consider her statements to mean she probably is breaking the law by carrying a weapon. Doubt that is would work but who knows… this is a world where a anchor of a national politics show can flaunt the law by waving around a highly illegal magazine in DC and face no problem but she might get the chair.

      Now the school, on the other hand, may take action. They can’t physically force her to let them search her bag anymore than Wal Mart can stop you for not showing your receipt at the door but they might be able to levy administrative punishments, especially if they start a broader policy of searching bags. I doubt they’ll bother.

      • “The police could secure a warrant to search her person, of course”

        “Of course”? Didn’t somebody say something like “no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause”? What would the probable cause be for a warrant to search her person?

        • Probable cause to believe a crime had been committed, possibly because of her public letter declaring her intent to commit a crime.
          ?

    • Does NC have DTI? That would be interesting as well. My bet is she is down with “concealed is concealed”. The only time I have ever been searched (outside airports) was when I obeyed TX’ DTI. Of course, I have never been questioned by a cop inside a GFZ, suspect I would violate DTI as well.

      • Interesting. . . if you are violating one law by being armed on campus, do you have to self-incriminate by telling an LEO that you ARE violating that law only to avoid breaking the law that requires you to inform an LEO that you are armed?
        If convicted felons are not required to self-incriminate by registering their probably-stolen firearms, according to the SCOTUS, doesn’t it follow that someone is not required to admit to having a firearm if such an admission is against their 5th-Amendment right against providing evidence against themselves, despite there being a duty to inform?
        H’mmmm. . . . .

      • In North Carolina you have a duty to inform only if an LEO asks for your ID and only if you are carrying. As we all know, if you put up a “no guns allowed” sign it magically forces everyone to leave their guns at home (or in the car if they have a CC permit), so any reasonable LEO will assume you aren’t armed when they ask for your ID on campus. I’ve been working on a North Carolina college campus for over five years and I’ll let you know when campus PD finally asks for my ID for the first time.

    • That depends. . .
      If, as I surmise, this is a state-operated college, then all of the restrictions upon government officials apply, and her purse could only be searched pursuant to a warrant issued on probable cause, and then only by law enforcement. However, if she has agreed to certain rules common in employment contracts, in particular the one allowing search of containers brought onto the campus with or without reasonable suspicion, then her purse is subject to warrantless search–but, following such search, any prosecution would be difficult due to the warrantless nature of the search by government (any college employee being an agent of government by default).
      If the college is NOT government-operated, then the restrictions of the 4th Amendment do not strictly apply; If her purse was thus searched by non-government officials and a gun found, then that evidence (if the officials were in no way acting as agents of government) would probably be admissible for prosecution.
      Unless shown or informed of a warrant by a law-enforcement officer, she could decline any search of her person or effects; However, she would be subject to immediate dismissal and removal from the campus after being given a trespass warning, especially if her employment contract includes the ‘search of personal items’ clause.
      20/20 hindsight says that this well-meaning prof should’ve kept silent, and carried on-body without advertising her intentions. Martyrdom is not all that it’s cracked up to be. It’s hard on the furniture

      • ” a gun found, then that evidence (if the officials were in no way acting as agents of government) would probably be admissible for prosecution.”

        I think when I am reincarnated, I wanna come back as a lawyer. I look at this and think, yeah, right. So jackass searches me and finds a gun, calls the cops. When the cops arrive to arrest somebody with a gun, what’s the first thing out of my mouth? “That’s not *my* gun, that’s *HIS* gun! Arrest him! Save me!”

        • Naturally, you have prepared for this eventuality by ensuring that there are no other witnesses, that the firearm has been carefully de-fingerprinted, and that there is no paper trail to trace the gun’s ownership back to you but instead conveniently back to the other, random person, while you steadfastly claim that you were GOING to call the police but that the other guy beat you to a phone.
          Sounds like a plan. . .

        • “I think when I am reincarnated, I wanna come back as a lawyer.”

          OK, Larry, put down the keyboard slowly and step away from the computer.

          Don’t do anything you’ll regret in your next life, now…

    • Depends on the school and its admin. So long as you don’t attract attention to yourself, lots of discrete behavior (like faculty carrying guns on a “gun-free” camps) takes place. Frankly, I applaud her for being forthright, although she also clearly understood that she’d rid herself of her tacitly discrete cover. Generally, I agree with Robert. Concealed means concealed: never say you’re carryin’ if you’re carrin’. The fact that she had to start carrying a gun due to a stalker is a real pisser.

  2. ““until she felt the need to protect herself when a student stalked her several years ago. Now, the marketing professor wants to be able to carry a weapon at school and even said that she intends to practice her right to bear arms on campus — a violation of state law.””

    So she had a come to Jesus moment and realized the stupidity of the liberal anti-gun position. But instead of simply getting some training and a permit, she decided to come out of the closet and tell the whole world about it. What part of concealed do these people not get? Now everyone around her knows, and that kind of defeats the purpose of concealed. And, now that she has outed herself, the option to carry despite the law has evaporated so she is still vulnerable. Liberalism sure is a disease; I’m just wondering how contagious it is.

    • Not everyone came out of their mother’s womb knowing about guns. How do you expect Professor Tuten to immediately know, upon realizing guns are not icky, about OPSEC and “concealed means concealed” and all the other tropes we take for granted here. Are you gonna pile on her for not carrying a full size 1911, too?

      Besides, it’s not a fight against these idiotic campus carry bans unless someone’s willing to go public about it. Good on Prof. Tuten for that.

      • Now that she’s gone public that she might be carrying, it probably makes her stalker think twice. Maybe her calculation is to get the best of both worlds here. She doesn’t get into trouble by carrying but makes her stalker think twice about doing something stupid.

    • “Now everyone around her knows, and that kind of defeats the purpose of concealed.”
      – But not the purpose of carrying, and not ‘everyone around her knows.’ There are plenty of people around her all day that don’t know her, have never read these stories and have no clue about this.

      “And, now that she has outed herself, the option to carry despite the law has evaporated so she is still vulnerable.”
      – How? Is there a magical ATF agent that now strip searches her every day?

  3. On “The Dr.s” today, they had a segment on safety for women during jogging. They showed a fanny pack with some items in there to improve the chance of “safety”. I’ll give you three guesses as to one item that was not mentioned and the first two guesses don’t count.
    The look on the faces of some of the women in the audience looked like they were thinking, “why not just shoot him?”

    • The DHS website has an excellent disaster preparedness section which capitalizes on the zombie phenom. Do you think they even once mention having a firearm for protection? NAFP

      • Can I safely assume that they didn’t focus much on edged weapons either?

        Everybody knows that knives, machetes, swords, spears, bayonets, pikes, bows, and crossbows are very handy in a zombie apocalypse.

  4. “Be that guy.”
    You first Robert…I am right behind you.
    Hint: you cannot fight from prison.
    Where would the American revolution has ended up if Franklin, Jefferson, the Adams cousins, et all got themselves jailed by King George?

    • Well… all of them committed high treason so one might wonder what would (could) have happened had they abstained from any illegal activity and continued sending sternly worded requests to King George.

      • the point, which perhaps you missed, is they didn’t martyr themselves. Robert didn’t say stand for something, he didn;t say fight for something he asked people to martyr themselves.
        “every great civil rights movement needs a hero. Martyr?”
        BIG DIFFERENCE.
        Which was and is my point.

    • Hmmm….hard to tell. Good question, though. Maybe others would be inspired by these imprisoned martyrs and carry on the fight to success?

      Plenty of activists served prison time for their “crimes”, only to go on to great success individually or at least in spirit as their respective movements subsequently succeeded. Examples include Kim Dae-jung of South Korea, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Fidel Castro of Cuba, Gandhi of India, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

  5. “I wonder if Professor Tuten is now operating under the assumption that concealed means concealed.”

    She’s probably realized that while her gender and station might have let her get away with a lot, once you side with the gun crowd that privilege get revoked, and so its no longer a safe bet to take a defiant risk.

    • That is my bet, as well. And that is how it should be, and no training or licensing is required. If you need that gun, you will *know* it, not simply suspect it. If you don’t know how to make it work, you’ll wish you did!

  6. Given the generally more conservative student population at ECU than in many universities, and the really nasty slum nearby, methinks that many more students and employees either carry concealed or leave a gun in the car, regardless of the law. Maybe the prof can use one of those underwear type holsters, which would necessitate a pat down search. I suspect that the criteria for a pat down are more strict than a purse or desk/locker search of an employee. If they fired her, they might get a a shit storm from the students and some of the parents as well. I have known a few ECU parents and they have no problems with their adult children having firearms (daughters, by the way).

  7. Is this the female prof who was contacted by campus police after declaring to a newspaper reporter that she intended to do something illegal on campus?

    Concealed doesn’t mean concealed when probable cause is printed in the papers.

  8. An idea:

    Female students on campus should organize a day where thousands of them attend classes wearing empty holsters, with a card attached that says “Love us or love the stalkers”.

    Truly, I see here a chance to turn the tables: “If it saves just one woman….”

    • Love this idea. Since I made my stand, I’ve received so many emails from women and husbands recounting similar circumstances. I do not wish to break the law – I do wish to draw attention to this issue and to move our rights forward. On campus, I am carrying an empty holster. And yes – for those who are worried that I’ve disclosed preparedness – I realize that is not ideal. But I didn’t know how else to make this point. I appreciate everyone’s support.

  9. I think she did the right thing as crappy as that is.

    My mother had a similar situation with a PhD student of her’s who lost his marbles. Serious and credible death threats and all that. She had a 24/7 police escort for months because of it. It was illegal for her to take a gun to campus and the area was already way over policed so it wasn’t really a big deal in terms of crime but it seemed stupid. They finally caught the guy and charged him with a ton of various violations including building explosives. Anyway…

    This lady made her intentions known and that was a bit silly because now she has to backtrack but carrying a gun illegally is unwise whether you publicly state it or not. She’s not in a small po-dunk town with six police stations so the cops probably can’t spare the manpower for her.

    Were she to carry a gun, and be forced to use it, the aftermath of that would be that she would likely be hit with felony charges or at least some sort of charges. She would then become the poster girl for the antis who would argue that she broke the law and endangered innocent students by carrying and that this is why we can’t trust people with concealed weapons. The argument will be that people take the permit as a license to break the law.

    Therefore I think her advocacy, especially as a reformed GFZ fan, is more useful than her breaking the law. Hopefully the stalker doesn’t take advantage of the situation before the law can be changed.

  10. I took time out of my busy day to send Prof. Tuten an email thanking her for her bravery and encouraging her to keep speaking out and pressing the issue and that she does not stand alone

    • To modify something The Notorious BIG said “Stalkers come, stalkers go. That’s why I grab my gun before I hit the door.”

  11. I applaud professor Tuten
    Welcome to the people of the gun club!
    I too am forbidden to carry a gun in my place of employment
    I carry one concealed anyway in spite of the threat of instant dismissal
    I am certain I am not the only one

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