Following backlash surrounding two students who face expulsion for having a handgun in their apartment and using it to thwart a potential home robbery, Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., is taking a new look at its current policies surrounding firearms on campus property.
The possible change of heart comes after an Oct. 24 incident in which roommates Erik Fagan and Dan McIntosh pulled a gun on John Taylor, a six-time felon, in self-defense after he reportedly attempted to enter their apartment. While the concealed weapon sent Taylor running, its presence and use violated school policy.
Campus security personnel inevitably confiscated two weapons from the apartment -- a 10mm Glock pistol belonging to McIntosh (the weapon used to send Taylor fleeing) and a hunting shotgun that belongs to Fagan, The Spokesman-Review reported.
The Gonzaga student handbook states that students cannot have handguns on any university owned property. According to officials, the policy is in place to protect students on campus, KOMO-TV reported. Fagan and McIntosh, who live in an off-campus apartment owned by Gonzaga, said they weren't previously aware of these regulations.
The handbook reads:
Possession, use, display, sale or exchange of weapons at any location on campus, including University residential facilities and privately-owned vehicles, is prohibited. The term “weapon” means any object designed to propel an object, inflict a wound, cause injury, incapacitate, damage property or cause a reasonable fear of such, and includes, but is not limited to, all firearms, pellet/BB/air guns, paintball guns, home-manufactured cannons or explosive devices, bows and arrows, slingshots, clubs, martial arts devices, switchblades or otherwise-illegal knives or knives with a blade longer than three inches (with the exception of kitchen knives in our University homes and apartments). Replica guns and other simulated weapons are included within this policy.
In a statement over the weekend, Gonzaga University President Thayne M. McCulloh said that the incident is an "opportunity to do some important work, as a community: to objectively re-examine our firearms policy and openly debate perspectives and contextual issues with an eye towards an honest and open review of the same."
The school is planning to have a bigger dialogue about the issue, with McCulloh asking Gonzaga's vice president of student development to organize discussions surrounding the gun issue, KOMO reported.
"Regardless of what the outcome of that discussion is, just the fact that there is a discussion in the wind makes us happy," Fagan told The Spokesman-Review.
No changes have been announced surrounding the university's pending sanctions against Fagan and McIntosh, but it appears the university is open to discussing the issue of guns in student residences.
For the time being, the student manual's gun restrictions remain in place.
Featured image credit: KATU-TV