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MU reveals new weapon policy

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In response to Wisconsin’s new concealed carry law, Marquette released plans on Monday that detailed revisions to the university’s weapons policy regarding the law due to go into effect Nov. 1.

In a news brief emailed to faculty and students, the university said it would continue to enforce its “no weapons allowed policy” to the extent allowable under the new law.

In accordance with the law, the university will be required to post signs on campus academic buildings, office buildings and residence halls indicating that weapons are prohibited inside, the news brief said.

The university also said it plans on imposing restrictions on the use and storage of weapons, but the exact details of those changes are not yet available, as the current weapon policies are in the process of being revised with the new law in mind.

Kate Venne, director of university communication, said Marquette does not have the authority to restrict who carries a weapon outside campus buildings.

“The university cannot restrict the possession of weapons in outdoor areas of the campus, student apartments, buildings leased from the university or university parking lots and structures,” Venne said.

However, Venne said that though the authority to possess firearms in these areas cannot be regulated, Marquette can restrict the way weapons are carried and stored.  In vehicles and university-owned apartments, Marquette will require that the weapons be secure.  In apartments, weapons must be stored so that other residents cannot gain access to them, and in vehicles, weapons must be either cased or stored in trunks and glove compartments.

Some students feel uneasy about concealed firearms being introduced to campus even with Marquette’s proposed regulations.

“I think improvements have been made to campus security recently that make concealed weapons unnecessary,” Annie Rowland, sophomore in the College of Business Administration said. “It comes down to what makes students feel safe, but there are obvious risks with guns on campus.”

However, previously unannounced plans to make revisions may come as a surprise to some at Marquette. On Friday, Department of Public Safety Lieutenant Paul Mascari said the university had not yet written a new weapons policy to address concealed carry on campus.

“University policy as it stands is no weapons are allowed on campus,” Mascari said. “Until there’s a new policy, the old policy stands.”

DPS Captain Russell Shaw also had no knowledge of the proposed changes as late as last Friday.

“As far as I know, a new policy has not been drafted yet,” Shaw said.

Weapons policy changes on campus were either not communicated to DPS or the plans were drafted as recently as this weekend after university officials were contacted by Tribune reporters last Friday.

Marquette is not the only Wisconsin institution to begin preparing firearm regulations in anticipation of the new law. The University of Wisconsin System and Milwaukee Common Council have already released guidelines and voted on restrictions.

According to guidelines released by the University of Wisconsin System’s General Counsel, students at Wisconsin’s public universities will not be allowed to carry concealed firearms into university buildings or stadiums that have signs explicitly prohibiting them, as the case will be at Marquette.

“I’m perfectly content with the university’s decision,” said Matt Depaolis, a junior at UW-Madison. “I’ve never felt like I’ve needed a gun in class.”

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