2 Gonzaga Students On Probation For Obeying the Law, Having Common Sense, and Exercising Good JudgementPosted: November 11, 2013
This is a case that I’m cautious not to draw conclusions about yet. Obviously the students absolutely should have a legal right to do what they did (law-abiding, acted responsibly, permits on record) and because of the nature of the threat, and their reaction to it, public sympathy is on their side.
They are caught in a conflict between overlapping policies, an unintended consequence of well-intended but perhaps ovezealous rule-making. Though I’m reluctant to assign ill intentions on the part of the school, or law enforcement, it clearly exposes a flaw in the school’s policy and the local justice system’s approach to protecting the rights (and the common-sense safety instincts) of students and citizens in the community. Keep in mind, a crime was prevented. No one was harmed. The intruder is a multiple felon, against whom the threat of force is justified.
We hope the students’ rights prevail. Otherwise it sets a very bad precedent. Confiscating a legally-owned firearm from responsible, law-abiding students, while this is under review, is overreach, in my opinion. The only thing I can say is, a member of the student body of a Jesuit University is operating in a legally different environment than the rest of civil society–and the right to bear arms is not completely without situational variations like this. Universities need to review these policies, not after a crisis occurs, but ideally, before. This could prompt other universities to consider the flaws in their policies, too. –Butcher
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Gonzaga University will review its weapons policy as two students who used a pistol to scare off an intruder appeal their probation for having guns in their university-owned apartment.
Executive Vice President Earl Martin said Monday the university will try to turn the incident into a teachable moment by re-examining its no-weapons policy.
“We will consider the scope of the policy, but always guided by what is in the best interest of student safety,” Martin said. He could not predict how long the process may take.
Bans on firearms in university-owned buildings and residences are common across the country, Martin said.
Gonzaga, a Jesuit university known for its basketball program, is a school of about 8,000 students near downtown Spokane.
Students Erik Fagan, 21, and Daniel McIntosh, 23, were informed by the university over the weekend they were on probation and could be suspended or expelled for any more violations of the university’s code of conduct, The Spokesman-Review reported.
Their lawyer, Dean Chuang, said Gonzaga should consider student safety above all else.
“We’re glad that it didn’t have to end in tragedy for them to consider changing the policy there,” Chuang said. “Our boys were armed and stopped a home invasion here.”
A homeless man came to their door Oct. 24 demanding money and trying to force his way inside.
Fagan said he offered the man a blanket and a can of food but refused to hand over any cash. The man became agitated and combative, he told the newspaper.
Fagan shouted for McIntosh, who came downstairs holding a loaded 10 mm Glock pistol.
“I draw on him,” McIntosh said. “As soon as he sees me, he decides he doesn’t want to deal with me. So he takes off.”
The men called police and campus security. Fagan has a concealed weapons permit, he said.
Campus security returned the next day and confiscated McIntosh’s pistol and Fagan’s shotgun, which he uses for hunting and sport shooting.
The men say their guns were seized illegally and are seeking to have them returned.
They say they are glad they weren’t expelled but they’re appealing their probation because they don’t want the sanction on their school records.
Students are not allowed to have guns in their homes if they live on campus or in a university-owned apartment. The university discipline board on Friday found Fagan and McIntosh responsible for two violations: possessing weapons on school grounds and putting others in danger by the use of weapons.
The man who went to their door, John M. Taylor, 29, is a six-time felon, said police spokeswoman Monique Cotton. His crimes have included riot with a deadly weapon, possession of a controlled substance and unlawful imprisonment.
Officers responding to an initial report of a residential burglary found him in the area, Cotton said. He was jailed on an arrest warrant from the state Department of Corrections, she said. Typically that means a person under department supervision has violated terms of release. Taylor was no longer on the jail roster Monday.
Department of Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis said records were not available Monday because of the Veterans Day holiday, so he couldn’t speak about Taylor. Arrest warrants are commonly issued when people fail to report to a supervisor or for treatment.
There was no answer Monday at the Spokane County public defender’s office, which might represent Taylor.
Associated Press writer Doug Esser in Seattle contributed to this report.
- 2 Gonzaga students on probation for having guns (khou.com)
- Gonzaga University students could face expulsion for gun (king5.com)
- Gonzaga Students Hit With Probation for Pulling Gun on Intruder (lunaticoutpost.com)
- 2 Gonzaga students on probation for having guns (sfgate.com)
- UPDATE: Gonzaga Students On Probation For Defending Themselves With Gun (khq.com)