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UW gun-free policy debated

Jan 21, 2014 - By Mark Heinz, For The Associated Press

LARAMIE -- Whether the parameters of firearms rights in Wyoming should extend to the University of Wyoming campus could be an issue of contention.

According to state statute, adults who may legally own firearms in Wyoming may also carry concealed firearms without a permit. Some examples of people not legally allowed to have firearms are convicted felons or those adjudicated to possibly be a threat to themselves or others because of mental illness.

However, Wyoming statue allows for some entities or institutions -- such as UW -- to restrict or disallow firearms on their property. Generally, UW policy forbids anybody other than sworn law enforcement officers to possess or carry firearms on campus, either openly or concealed.

"It's not going to be a blanket 'no,'" UW Police Department chief Mike Samp said. "It (concealed carry on campus) is something we're going to consider on a case-by-case basis."

UW student Ted Schueler said he's unsuccessfully applied to conceal carry on campus since he began studying kinesiology, health and social studies in 2010. He said he's a U.S. Army combat veteran who served as a sniper while deployed in Iraq.

He said he holds a concealed carry permit, and sometimes has a handgun on his person when he's not on campus. As he sees it, UW policy violates his basic right to self-defense.

"For me, the biggest thing is that it (UW) is essentially a gun-free zone. So if somebody brings a gun on campus with bad intentions, there will be nobody to stop them, other than police officers."

Samp said he can't comment about the specifics or give the identity of any person involved in any particular case. He said that during his tenure, UW has allowed only one person to carry a concealed firearm on campus.

Exceptions hinge first upon a person being legally able to possess a firearm and having had adequate training, Samp said.

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