Two Washington college students are on school probation and could face expulsion for using a handgun to protect themselves during a home robbery.
Gonzaga University (Spokane) roommates Dan McIntosh and Erik Fagan used a legally owned gun to protect themselves from six-time felon John Taylor. Public backlash over the expulsion stemming from possessing a gun on campus against college policy appears to have forced the school to reconsider school policy.
On October 24 Taylor came to the door of their apartment, and Fagan offered the man a blanket and food. Taylor became upset and combative, and Fagan hollered at McIntosh, who came to the door with his 10 mm Glock. Taylor then fled.
The Gonzaga University handbook prohibits students from keeping any type of gun on college-owned property. They live in an apartment owned by Gonzaga.
McIntosh and Fagan stated they were unaware of the policy and had not thoroughly read the lengthy college handbook when moving into their new abode.
Police confiscated McIntosh’s handgun and Fagan’s shotgun. McIntosh has a concealed carry permit.
An excerpt from the Gonzaga University 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.
Thayne M. McCulloh, the Gonzaga University president, is now looking at the guns on campus incident as an opportunity to “objectively re-examine the college’s firearms policy. According to a public statement issued by McCulloh, he wants the school to work together as a community to “openly debate perspectives and contextual issues” about the campus weapons policy.
A university is a microcosm of society. If criminals are the only ones who have guns, the level of safety and security is drastically reduced.
During an interview with The Spokesman-Review, Fagan said, “Regardless of what the outcome of that discussion is, just the fact that there is a discussion in the wind makes us happy.”
Fagan and McIntosh were ultimately placed on probation for violating the no guns on campus policy, and their weapons were returned, although they cannot store them on campus or at university-owned housing.
Of course, multiple times this year breaking news headlines have alerted the nation to lockdowns on college campuses due to reports of an alleged gunman. Gun rights groups say that placing students in Gun Free Zones makes them nothing more than targets.
According to US Department of Education statistics, there were 37 incidents of rape at the Gonzaga University on-campus student housing facilities last year alone. Over the course of the past three years, there have been between 105 and 184 reports of burglary and between five to 10 incidents of aggravated assault at student housing facilities. Figures during the same time period for the same type of offenses on the campus outside of housing facilities are higher across the board. There were 304 burglaries reported on the Gonzaga University campus in 2012.
No university, regardless of location or prestige, is immune from crime. Harvard was noted on the list of the nation’s “Top 25 Most Dangerous Colleges” in a research project conducted by the Daily Beast. During the two-year review period, there was one murder and a total of 357 robberies on the Ivy League campus. Yale University also had one murder, as well as 38 robberies, four aggravated assaults, and 164 burglaries during the same time period.
Campus crime is a serious problem. Do you think students deserve the right to defend themselves against assault, rape and robbery?