If you’re looking to take up arms for target practice, maybe shooting your weapon through a dorm room window isn’t the ideal way to go about it.
On April 18, a student decided to do exactly that in Aber Hall, prompting an investigation by UMPD. This raises the question, how enforceable are UM’s policies on gun ownership among students living on campus?
Trick question. They’re not. Concealing a Glock 19 9 mm compact semi-automatic pistol in your waistband is probably more inconspicuous than smuggling in booze with your giggling roommate. Especially since routine room checks conducted by Resident Assistants are largely superficial and don’t illegally invade students personal belongings, which may contain items more hazardous than just a few grams of weed. And while University residents living in the dorms are required to register and store their firearms with UMPD offices, this now seems more like a suggestion, with rules enforced after the fact, than a tight regulation designed to preempt incidents like the one in Aber that could have resulted in events more grave than just property damage. If it were the other way around, perhaps this story wouldn’t have made it to the desk of one of our reporters.
Enforceability aside, how many students are even aware of these UM gun policies? While students are obligated to complete courses addressing sexual violence and alcohol abuse on campus, courses on UM gun safety and own- ership, or physical safety in general, are entirely MIA from the curriculum. Common sense doesn’t suffice to define student firearm rules — universities must make expectations and requirements clear and known before students set foot on campus. Otherwise, the door is left open for confusion and excuses on behalf of students who choose to violate these “unclear” policies, creating consequences other students and staff shouldn’t have to suffer.
UMPD’s response to the shooting in Aber Hall comes more as a finger-wag of a warning to students about what to not do with their guns. It should serve, instead, as an urgent reminder to students that the University’s policies are in place for a reason. And although they remain relatively easy to circumvent, it’s imperative to adhere to them. The well-being of our campus and the people who use it is at stake.