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CSSB 176: "An Act relating to the regulation of firearms and knives by the University of Alaska."

Guns in UA Classrooms and Dorms - A Call to Action

The University of Alaska is asking for your help regarding a bill in the Alaska Legislature that would allow concealed carry of weapons on all of our campuses, including in classrooms and student dorms. If you agree with the university's position against this unnecessary legislation, our legislators need to hear from you!

On Friday, March 21, the Senate Judiciary Committee moved a committee substitute (CS) of Senate Bill 176 (SB 176) out of committee. It next will go to the Senate Finance Committee, perhaps as soon as next week. A companion bill has been introduced in the House, HB 335. There's a very real possibility these bills could pass this session and be signed into law by the governor.

University employees need to weigh in.

These bills would allow concealed carry of handguns on our campuses by those 21 years old or older with a concealed handgun permit, which requires minimal safety training (12 hours). Concealed carry would be allowed in classrooms, theatres, lecture halls, labs and even the student dorms. If signed into law, it very well could be the most far-reaching of any of the other seven states that have allowed concealed carry on campus, either through litigation or by state legislation. The recently passed Idaho bill, for example, exempts concealed carry in dorms and venues holding more than 1,000 people. There are no such exemptions in the Alaska bill, sponsored by Sen. John Coghill of North Pole. 

An overwhelming majority of the 4,400 public colleges and universities in the United States prohibit the carrying of firearms on campus out of concern for the safety and security of students, faculty, staff and visitors, especially K-12 students. Postsecondary education institutions, including our own UA campuses, are already among the safest places in the country. We don't believe this bill will make them any safer. In fact, we believe the opposite is true.

The University of Alaska System strongly opposes CS SB 176. President Gamble has twice testified in opposition at hearings in the state capitol in Juneau and published a guest editorial in the Juneau Empire, the Anchorage Daily News, the Alaska Dispatch and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. You can read President Gamble's editorial here:
http://www.adn.com/2014/03/15/3375516/compass-logic-reality-say-guns.html?sp=/99/328/640/646/

A number of student, staff and faculty groups have opposed this bill as well, though some have supported it, which is their right.

The UA aministration, however, believes existing Board of Regents' policy, which allows guns on campus so long as they are in vehicles or, if dorm residents, in locked storage, works very well. Crime is low on campus compared to off-campus cities and communities in Alaska. If you agree with the university's position, we ask for your help.

Please write to your own legislator (LEGISLATIVE CONTACT INFORMATION) to express your opinion. You may also want to write the Senate Finance Committee or others from your area. While these letters are not partisan in nature, we recommend you use your own email accounts on your own time. If you have a personal relationship with a key, influential legislator not on the list, please send him or her a letter. If you know someone not affiliated with the university who could be an advocate for our position, please ask them for help.

You can find a briefing sheet on the university's position here:
http://www.alaska.edu/files/state/SB-176-3-20-14-Final.pdf

We have heard from at least one senator wondering why he has not received any communication from individuals who support the university’s position. State legislators need to hear from Alaskans who are unhappy with this legislation. If that person is you, please write your senator and representative!  

For more information, please go to our State Relations webpage at www.alaska.edu/state and click on "advocacy kit" on the left-hand menu.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Public Affairs Director Kate Ripley at 907/450-8102 or at klripley@alaska.edu.

SB 176/HB 335

"An Act relating to the regulation of firearms and knives by the University of Alaska."

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