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November 16, 2012

MSU considering change in weapons policy

Nov. 16, 2012 —     The Morehead State University Board of Regents will consider a change to its campus weapons policy after a ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court earlier this year.

    A case involving the University of Kentucky and Michael Mitchell, a former UK graduate student and anesthesia technician, sparked the change after Mitchell lost his job and was expelled in 2009 when campus police found a firearm in his car.

    Mitchell had a valid concealed carry permit.

    In April, the high court ruled that guns and other deadly weapons could be stored in a car’s glove compartment while on a college campus in Kentucky.  

    MSU’s policy on deadly weapons on campus reads: “Possession or storage of a deadly weapon, destructive device or fireworks in any form is prohibited on any Morehead State University campus or in any facility owned, leased, or operated by the university.”

    Jane Fitzpatrick, MSU’s general counsel, said the ruling might cause the University to alter its policy.

    “We’re not doing this because it’s a great idea, we’re doing it because we have to,” she said.

    In wake of the shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007, where 32 persons were killed and 15 wounded, security was tightened at MSU and on other campuses.

    But changing the weapons policy could result in bringing more weapons on campus.

    In the revised policy, a weapon could be allowed in a container being a part of the original equipment of the car like a trunk or glove compartment.

    “If they have a concealed carry permit, then we have to allow people to have a weapon in their vehicle,” Fitzpatrick said.

    The policy will have exceptions for ROTC and the MSU Rifle team and gun safety training exercises at the firing range in the basement of Button Auditorium.

    “Other than that, all deadly weapons will be prohibited,” Fitzpatrick said. “The exceptions are either required by statute or ones that are administratively needed on campus.”

    MSU, along with other higher education institutions, filed a supporting brief in the Mitchell case but Fitzpatrick said the court ruled against them.

    “We’ve done all that we could do in the courts and now we have to comply with the ruling of the Supreme Court,” Fitzpatrick said.

    The MSU Board of Regents will vote on the measure at its December meeting.

    MacKenzie Bates can be reached at or by telephone at 784-4116.

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