College ban on handguns eased slightly

Aug. 21, 2014 @ 11:17 AM

Weapons will now be allowed on Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute’s campus, but still not in college buildings.

The college’s board of trustees updated the weapons policy Wednesday to allow concealed-handgun permit holders to keep handguns “in a closed compartment or container within the individual’s locked vehicle.” Previously all weapons were prohibited from campus property.

The policy applies only to handguns, which must stay in the locked vehicle and out of sight, said Marilyn Starnes, chair of the board’s policy and legislative committee.

“Signs will be adjusted on campus to reflect the changes,” Starnes said.

The new policy conforms to what has been state law since Oct. 1. The law says concealed-handgun permit holders are allowed to store their handguns in a closed compartment in a locked car at parking lots owned or leased by state government or at lots in any school from kindergarten through college. Gun rights advocates said the changes would deter violent crime.

Trustees also updated the college’s tobacco policy to clarify that electronic cigarettes are banned from areas where regular cigarettes also are prohibited. Starnes said some students had asked whether they could use e-cigarettes in classrooms. E-cigarettes allow smokers to inhale a vapor that contains nicotine, but there is no combustion and no smoke.

The tobacco policy was modified to include locations where smoking is not allowed, such as building interiors and covered walkways, and the definition of a “tobacco product” includes electronic cigarettes, electronic cigars and electronic pipes.

Both policies go into effect immediately.