MOREHEAD CITY — The Carteret Community College Board of Trustees is developing a policy to regulate weapons on campus.
Trustees heard the first reading of a proposed policy during their meeting Tuesday in the McGee Building boardroom. The policy will be up for adoption in February after a second reading.
CCC President Dr. John Hauser said that during a policy review last year officials realized there was no official weapons policy.
“We continue to focus on student safety and the safety of our campus,” Dr. Hauser said. “We believe we need a policy.”
The college’s student handbook has a section that addresses weapons on campus, and CCC Security Chief Richard Abell said there are state statutes that already regulate weapons on school and college campuses. The policy will codify the existing rules.
While there are exceptions to the rule, the proposed policy prohibits employees, students or visitors on campus to bring weapons on college-owned or operated property. Items listed under the policy include handguns, long guns, BB guns, air rifles, stun guns, bowie knives, explosives, including fireworks, slingshots or “any other device or instrument that can be considered a weapon.”
The policy does allow items that are being utilized as instructional materials or in the course of regular academic instruction and approved college activities.
The policy does not pertain to law enforcement officers required to carry a firearm while in uniform or in the course of duty. It also excludes criminal justice technology and basic law enforcement training students when firearms and other weapons are training aids in the course being taught by qualified instructors.
The policy also allows people who have a valid concealed handgun permit or who are exempt from obtaining a permit to bring a handgun as long as certain requirements are met.
A person with a concealed permit must have their handgun in a closed compartment or container within the locked vehicle or in a locked container securely affixed to the person’s vehicle. They can unlock the vehicle to enter or exit while the firearm remains in the closed compartment at all times and immediately lock the vehicle following entrance or exit.
A person with a permit can have a handgun concealed on them as long as they remain in a locked vehicle and only unlock the vehicle to allow the entrance or exit of another person.
A person with a handgun within a locked vehicle is allowed to remove the handgun from concealment only for the amount of time reasonably necessary to either move the gun from concealment on the person to a closed compartment or container or move the handgun from a closed compartment or container to concealment on the person.
Mr. Abell said CCC security officers don’t carry weapons, and when an incident may require weapons, the Morehead City Police Department is called.
“They can be on campus in about two minutes. They also maintain a heavy presence on campus,” Mr. Abell said.
Trustee June Fulcher asked if those with conceal permits are required to notify the college. Mr. Abell said they are not.
As for those who violate the policy, they will be referred for criminal prosecution. Faculty and staff violators are also subject to the college’s disciplinary action, suspension and dismissal policy.
In addition, student violators are subject to the Student Code of Conduct and consequent levels of disciplinary action outlined in the handbook. Disciplinary action for students can range from verbal warnings to suspensions.
Two CCC students the News-Times interviewed Friday said they felt the proposed policy was fair.
“I think that having the policy in place will help protect us and make the campus safer,” Phi Beta Kappa Vice President Victoria Washington of Beaufort said. “As long as people have their permit and keep their guns locked in their vehicle, I’m OK.”
CCC Student Government Association Secretary Nyquan Wilson of Beaufort agreed.
“We want to follow the state law to enhance campus safety,” Mr. Wilson said. “I think it’s OK as long as they have their permit and have a mental background check and ensure they’ve had no problems previously.”
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.