Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

University Gun Policies in Spotlight After Sarkeesian Cancellation

Ken Lund / Creative Commons
Rice-Eccles Stadium

Confusion about what a person can and can’t do with a gun on Utah’s college campuses is once again in the spotlight after pop culture critic and feminist Anita Sarkeesian cancelled a speaking engagement at Utah State University earlier this week after receiving death threats. 

Sarkeesian is a prominent critique of the video game industry and it’s portrayal of women and has often been the recipient of death threats and online harassment. On twitter, she said she decided to cancel the event not because of the threats, but because Utah State officials wouldn’t prevent people from bringing guns to the event.

State law allows people to bring guns onto school campuses if they have a concealed carry permit.

But several universities, including Utah State, have policies that prohibit people from bringing guns into their football and basketball stadiums. When I asked University of Utah spokesperson Maria O’Mara about the policy at Rice-Eccles Stadium she sent the following statement.

“The University of Utah fully complies with Utah law, which allows a concealed weapon permit holder to posses a concealed weapon on campus.”

But even that leads to some confusion, as the University says the weapon needs to be concealed, while others, like Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, say the base standard in Utah is open carry and that concealed carry permits simply allow concealment.

“If a person can do that openly already, without a permit, why would someone, who’s gone through additional training to get a permit, be required to conceal it," he says. "That doesn’t make sense.”

Oda says he doesn’t think the laws need to be changed or modified, but he has asked the office of legislative general counsel for an official opinion. 

KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.