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Compromise Emerges on Campus Guns

Compromise Emerges on Campus Guns



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- After talks between college leaders and lawmakers, legislation has emerged that would restrict guns on Utah campuses but not completely ban them.

Senate Bill 251 would allow students who live on campus to choose a roommate who doesn't possess a concealed weapon. Faculty members could ban guns from their offices, but they would be required to post a sign.

Many dorm residents are not eligible for concealed weapons. In Utah, a person must be at least 21 to get a permit.

"I think it's a very fair compromise. Of course, from higher education's perspective, we would rather be able to set our own policies," said Dave Buhler, associate commissioner of higher education.

"Obviously the Legislature has spoken, the Utah Supreme Court has spoken and now it's time to find some common ground so we cannot get distracted by this issue," he said.

In September, the state Supreme Court struck down a ban on guns at the University of Utah, saying campus officials could not adopt a policy that runs counter to state law.

Utah law prevents state and local agencies from restricting possession or use of firearms on public or private property.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Greg Bell, R-Fruit Heights, would required a storage area for guns near faculty offices.

"My big issue was that the Legislature should set policy," Bell said. "The main thing is the faculty seemed to feel strongly that they have a choice."

For some students, one gun on campus is too many.

"Knowing people have guns and could lose their tempers scares me. Something could happen," said Brittany English, a senior at the University of Utah.

Some gun-rights advocates aren't pleased with the bill.

"There is no reason for a segregated dorm system. That would not be tolerated by any other minority," said Charles Hardy, public-policy director for Gunowners of Utah.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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