Despite best preparation, weapons could still threaten campus


Jacob Singleton

Source: Mother Jones

By Alyssa Pappas, Contributing writer

In light of the mass shooting last week that killed 58 people in Las Vegas and injured over 500 more, concern for another possible shooting is raising awareness for campus safety and the current gun laws in place for the University.

According to the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act, residents in the state of Illinois may not own firearms, stun guns or tasers without having a FOID card in their name.

Although this is the law in place for the state of Illinois, the University Code on storing weapons says that “possession or storage of weapons by students is prohibited on any property owned or controlled by the University, including University certified housing units.”

Even with these laws in place, there is always still a possibility of an active shooter being on campus.  

Deputy Chief of Operations at the University of Illinois Police Department, Matt Myrick said that “the problem is all the laws in the world don’t prevent any of this. It will happen again, just a matter of where and when.”

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When asked about her own safety on campus, freshman in DGS Amritha Anand, said “personally I haven’t felt super unsafe on campus. [The Las Vegas shooting] has made me a little nervous, but I try to have a more positive attitude and hope that nothing is going to happen.”

Myrick said that he is always on guard after his 20+ years working in law enforcement.

“When I come to work, my thought process is, is today the day? Is today the day someone will go to the Union and start shooting people? That thought process prevents me from being shocked when something like that happens, cause that’s the world I live in,” Myrick said.

After seeing the news of the Las Vegas shooting, he said he thought “I’m not surprised, I mean, this is the times that we live in. And I don’t think it’s unique to these times. If you look over the course of history, people have been killing each other since the beginning of times.”

Even though there was little concern from Anand, Chief Myrick said how if there were an active shooter on campus, students can expect officers from the five major police departments (the City of Champaign, City of Urbana, University of Illinois, Champaign County Sheriff’s Office and Rantoul Police Department in Champaign County) to go to the scene.

“Since we are twin cities and the borders are contiguous, there is a statute that basically says, police departments in those jurisdictions have jurisdiction everywhere in that area. We are unique in that the statute says we have authority in every county where the university has interest or property,” said Myrick.

Even with all of the police department’s involvement, he said how there is never going to be a guarantee that something like the Las Vegas shooting will not happen again, but that people should try and look for signs that somebody may have that same intention of harming others, in order to do the most to prevent it.

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