Carrying a gun, legally, just
part of daily prep for some USU students
By R.M. Monk
May 12, 2008 | UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY -- One No. 2
pencil -- check; two textbooks -- check; one 9mm semi-automatic
pistol with 30 hollow-point rounds of ammunition --
Time for class.
For one USU graduate student who wished to remain
anonymous -- we'll call him Bill -- this is his daily
routine, and he's not alone.
Bill said he knows personally about 50 other students
who have their own conceal carry permits. When you realize
the concealed firearms permit course is always full—about
20 people, he said—and the class is offered every month,
the numbers work out to be close to 240 a year. He also
said that when he took the class, out of all the college-aged
attendees, he was the only male. It's something people
don't usually think about, said bill, but a lot of USU
women keep a gun in their purse.
These students represent a nation wide culture shift
to allow concealed carry of firearms on U.S. colleges.
So far, Utah is the only state that allows students
to carry concealed firearms on its public campuses.
But after events like the Virginia Tech massacre and
the North Illinois University shooting that left six
dead, neighboring states like Arizona and Idaho are
considering legislation to allow permit-holding students
and faculty to conceal firearms in classes. Already
in Colorado, except in the University of Colorado, students
are allowed to conceal carry, according to CNN. Even
places such as Virginia Tech, which recently shot down
the idea of allowing guns on their campus, grassroots
organizations such as Students
for Concealed Carry on Campus are popping up, pushing
for more liberal gun legislation.
But for some in Utah, the ability to conceal carry
isn't enough. Bill said he would like to see Utah gun
laws become lax enough so he could open carry on campus.
However, he said, he wouldn't carry openly out of respect
to others concern over safety.
But even if someone is open carrying, he said, you
may still miss it.
Bill jokingly remembered when he wore a revolver in
the back of his pants to the business building one day.
After sitting down and standing up, he said, his shirt
had risen over the gun for all to see.
He must have walked around for 10 minutes like that
till he felt a breeze, and nobody said anything about
it, he said.
Because of incidents like that, this grad student
prefers to carry in "deep concealment," or what he calls
The two magazines of ammunition he carries, he said,
aren't because he thinks he'll ever need that many bullets.
It's because of problems like "magazine failure" that
could render his weapon useless. The hollow-point rounds
are for safety oddly enough. Whereas most bullets tend
to pierce through a target, making anything behind it
at risk, his 9mm hollow points will expand on contact,
and the chance to puncture out the other side and ricochet
You may not realize it, but many police officers use
hollow points, he said.
He carries because of a physical disability that has
left him with the ability to run or even walk quickly.
When he was bullied as a kid, he found out the hard
way that a self-defense class won't stop everything.
"I love the critics who say, if there's a shooter
in the building, run away," he said pointing out a problem
for those who don't have that ability.
Bill said he understands how alarming seeing a person
with a gun can be and suggests that if you ever do see
someone with a gun, contact authorities right away.
However, he said, when telling the police "There's a
man with a gun here," he wishes callers wouldn't leave
it to that sole description. Is the person doing anything
threatening or does he have is weapon out at all, he
would ask, or is the person simply buying books and
happens to have a gun on his hip.
Utah's carry permit has reciprocity with over 30 states,
he said. This is because to get a conceal carry permit
in Utah, you must take a gun safety class and go through
differing state and FBI background checks. Whereas in
states such as Idaho, he said, "all you need is a pulse."
But despite Bill's hardware and license to carry,
he said he doesn't want anyone to Rambo. He has never
had occasion to draw his gun.
"And I hope I'll never have to," he said.