“The carrying of a concealed handgun is prohibited on the property of the university, in a university office or classroom in a building not on university property or at a university sponsored activity or meeting not on university property provided appropriate notice is posted in the manner provided by law.” That’s the University of Alaska’s (UA) current policy on campus carry. The problem: the current regulation flies in the face of Alaska statute AS 29.35.145, which reserves all power to regulate firearms to the state. The state senate now wants to officially empower UA to regulate firearms on its campus . . .
Here’s the opening paragraph of SB 174:
FINDINGS AND INTENT. The legislature finds that the individual right to keep and bear arms is a constitutionally protected right under art. I, sec. 19, Constitution of the State of Alaska, and may not be abridged by the Board of Regents of the University of Alaska. The legislature reserves to the state the authority to regulate firearms, except as specifically provided in AS 14.40.173.
While it seems that legislators are slapping down UA’s weapons policy, appearances can be deceiving. In fact, UA’s Board of Regents are reported to be satisfied with Senate Bill 174. From newsminer.com:
The bill was initially released to opposition from UA, which listed six concerns it had on the bill. Its main concern revolved around the university’s ability to intervene in high-risk situations.
The new version of the bill incorporates four of those recommendations, allowing the Board of Regents to adopt regulations on guns and knives in situations where a student or employee “poses a risk of harm to self or others” or during a disciplinary process.
It also would allow the regents to bar weapons in student housing or in facilities related to health services, counseling or other services related to sexual harassment or violence.
That’s a lot of power that the board if regents did not have previously.
Not in the News Miner report: SB 174 gives the board of regents complete authority to ban all open carry on campus. This guts over half of the exercise of Second Amendment rights on all of Alaska University campuses. It’s an enormous power grant that no city in Alaska has. Why the senate would do this is unclear.
(c) The Board of Regents may adopt and enforce policies
(1) regulating the possession, ownership, use, carrying, registration,
storage, and transportation of openly carried firearms and knives;
If the bill becomes law, no student will be able to carry a belt knife on campus. No student will be able to carry a shotgun from his car to his room after hunting without concealing it. SB 174 goes still further. It grants complete immunity from liability for any of the board of regents policies concerning exercise of the Second Amendment.
(f) The University of Alaska, the Board of Regents, and any officers,
employees, or agents of the University of Alaska are immune from civil liability for any act or omission resulting from a policy or regulation adopted or enforced under this section by the Board of Regents or the president of the University of Alaska, or a claim arising from the possession, ownership, use, carrying, registration, or transportation of firearms or knives by any person.
This is in direct contravention of the Supreme Court’s Heller decision, which held that possession of a working handgun in one’s home was a fundamental Constitutional right. It remains to be seen if the bill emerges from committee and makes it to the governor’s desk.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.