Weapons need safe storage

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The Oshkosh Student Association approved a proposal on Feb. 21 that stated either the UW Oshkosh Police Department or the University in general should provide reasonable accommodations for the storage of student weapons currently banned from residence halls and other on-campus buildings.

Weapons that are not allowed within campus buildings include: martial arts equipment, firearms used for hunting, sporting, play shooting and target shooting and even Nerf guns.

The University and UWO community should support this proposal, as it can strengthen the safety of campus when it comes to firearms and other weapons.

When students who own weapons do not have a proper location to store them, they might keep them in their residence halls, which is prohibited, or in their cars, where anyone can easily access them.

Travis Eickstedt, who is currently deployed in Cuba, authored this resolution during his time as an elected OSA Senator. He said people who own campus-prohibited weapons do not currently have a safe place to store them.

“Where those end up currently are in the trunks of cars,” Eickstedt said.

Eickstedt said if weapons continue to be stored in cars, they can be stolen and abused.

“It becomes a safety issue,” Eickstedt said.

According to Eickstedt, now is an ideal time to carry through with the proposal because the UPD is trying to get the funds and the approval to renovate their police department.

While the storage of weapons is unfamiliar to the UWO campus, some other UW schools have implemented secure ways for students to store their weapons on campus.
At UW Platteville, the UPD has offered to securely store weapons since 2011 because of how many students need a safe storage space for their firearms. UW Superior has offered storage lockers as a legal place to store weapons on campus for more than twenty years.

UWO student Kristi Mickow said knowing student weapons could be stored in a secure space is more reassuring than the possibility that they are being kept in residence halls or cars.

“I think it’s a safe idea rather than having them in their dorms,” Mickow said. “I honestly wouldn’t feel comfortable if people had guns in my dorm.”

Eickstedt said he thinks the UPD should incorporate accommodations for weapons into their plans if they get the approval for renovation.

If the UPD is unable to accommodate these weapons, the University should find a way to manage firearms on campus in order to increase campus safety and maintain a peace of mind within the UWO community.

Eickstedt said those who have a stigma against guns should still consider supporting this proposal, as it is safer than current campus conditions.

“Would you rather have the guns unsecured in a car,” Eickstedt said, “Or in a secure location that’s monitored, that someone’s not going to go and grab them?”

The UPD and the University should consider accommodating students’ weapons, and the UWO community should support this proposal, as it can further ensure the safety of the campus.

A designated storage area would ensure that any on-campus weapons are here both legally and safely.”