Concealed weapons conditionally allowed on campus

Photo Illustration: Harim Arjon/The Telescope

Photo Illustration: Harim Arjon/The Telescope

How would you feel if your fellow classmate was carrying a concealed weapon?

Although weapons of any kind are normally not allowed on college campuses, a section of California’s penal code allows for individuals with a concealed weapons permit to legally carry one on campus.

While it is technically allowed, concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit holders still need to get exclusive permission from either the Palomar police department or the president of the college, according to Palomar’s chief of police Mark DiMaggio.

“Other than that, you cannot be carrying on the campus even if you have a CCW,” DiMaggio said.

While every state has some provision allowing concealed carry on college campuses, California is one of 20 that normally ban weapons on campus, according to website for the National Conference of State Legislatures, ncsl.org.

Many groups across the country actively advocate being able to conceal carry on campus, which would give students and teachers “an effective means of self-defense,” according to Students for Concealed Carry.

These pro-concealed carry groups run on the platform that “gun free zones” disarm law-abiding citizens who would normally be able to protect themselves.

Derek Tesdal, a business major at Palomar, said the fact that people could carry concealed weapons doesn’t bother him at all because “If you have a concealed carry permit, you have it for a good reason because California is extremely strict with it.”

But college concealed carry definitely has its opposers, whose numbers have grown in the wake of school shootings on both college and high school campuses.

One such group, the Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus, focuses on stopping statewide legislature that would force colleges and universities to allow hidden weapons on their property.

“In my opinion, it’s not a good thing.” said Kevin Nogueira, a Palomar student, “Lately there have been school shootings, it could make it easier for something like that to happen.”

But while college concealed carry has its supporters and opponents on the political spectrum, the practical issues and problems associated with carrying a weapon on campus are apparent.

“I think (the campus) would be more dangerous just due to a couple of factors,” DiMaggio said.

According to DiMaggio, the mere sight of a hidden gun is enough to cause panic and confusion on campus, which could lead some to believe there was an active shooter situation and instigate a police response. A response that, with no real danger, would be wasting the time and resources of Palomar police and other local law enforcement.

A similar event happened at Cal State San Marcos in August when police were called about a potential shooter who actually just happened to be carrying an umbrella. Events like these can cost a city tens of thousands of dollars, according to an Associated Press article.

There are other concerns as well.

“Think about this: what if the gun somehow slipped out of … however you were carrying it, it falls on the ground and an accidental discharge occurs,” DiMaggio said. “You can imagine the traumatic effect that would have on the entire campus.”

According to DiMaggio, there has been no problems with concealed weapons or CCW holders on campus during his time as chief of police. Although he did admit he has only held his position since May.

“We want to keep the panic down to a minimum and make sure that we’re providing a safe and secure environment for the campus community,” DiMaggio said.

President Robert Deegan told The Telescope that, in the ten years that he’s served at Palomar, a request to carry a concealed weapon by a non-law enforcement officer has never been approved.

Author: Mike Peterson

Mike Peterson is a writer, freelancer and the editor-in-chief of The Telescope. He’s currently wrapping up his transfer degree and hopes to move on to CSUSM or SDSU. He likes short sentences and quoting Hemingway. He’s also pretty sure his body would break down if he stopped drinking coffee, so he doesn’t risk it.

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2 Comments

  1. “The sight of a hidden gun is enough to cause panic and confusion”… Apparently the author is confused between concealed carry and open carry. Hidden guns are not seen. And wouldn’t the 13 Californians who died in San Bernardino have been happy to see the sight of a gun slip out of its concealed holster and kill the terrorist before he was able to destroy so many lives.

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  2. What nonsense. The 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution is one sentence, which clearly states that bearing arms is for the purpose of maintaining a well-regulated militia. That today includes the police, the National Guard, and the military. It is silent on private gun ownership. States can implement gun ownership regulations and it is prudent for people to own handguns for self defense but there is no Constitutional support for it. And there is no right to bring a handgun onto Palomar College and there should be no such rights at any college campus. A gun free zone is a safe zone, not an “unsafe zone.” A gun free zone is one where illegal gun owners cannot bring guns and is thus safe. How to achieve a gun free zone in the U.S., where sales of military assault weapons to anyone including those who have decided to misuse them is rampant, requires work. Security cameras and armed police are far better than arming everyone or allowing a school to have attendants be armed.

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