Reports of gunman briefly shut down UCI campus

Lockdown comes just weeks after a 'viable threat of violence'

Yesterday, the University of California, Irvine (UCI) asked students and employees to "shelter in place" for about 30 minutes after receiving a report of a man with a gun on campus.

At 2:42 p.m. the school received the report and sent an electronic alert to all instructors and students telling them to remain in a safe location. The lockdown was lifted at about 3:15 p.m. when police located the gunman, who was first spotted near the university's main flag pole heading toward Mesa Court student housing.

The man had proper permits to carry the gun, but state law prohibits firearms on campus.  Officers took him into custody and interviewed him to determine why he brought the firearm to the university.

Currently, 41 states ban the concealed carry of guns on college campuses, but lawmakers in 10 of those states have introduced legislation to roll back the bans—with some arguing guns could be a way to curb the prevalence of campus rape and shootings. Debates over such bills are taking place in Nevada, Indiana, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Florida, Texas and Wyoming.

Debate over campus carry's role in preventing sexual assault continues

The emergency alert came as an introductory ceremony for the school's new chancellor Howard Gillman was scheduled to start at the Barclay Theatre. The ceremony continued uninterrupted with doors locked and no entry or exit permitted.

Earlier in March, the university cancelled a student government meeting due to a "viable threat of violence." The meeting was to discuss overriding the veto of a measure that banned all nations' flags from the student government lobby.

Less than two years ago, a student was arrested for carrying a loaded revolver on campus and sentenced to 40 days in prison and three years' probation (Dobruck, Daily Pilot; 3/31; Dobruck et al., Los Angeles Times, 3/31; Austin, Dana Point Patch, 3/31).

The takeaway: A gunman on campus shut down University of California, Irvine for about half an hour yesterday. For more on emergency alert systems, visit our Business Affairs Forum research brief.

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