Firearm found in Kresge Library causes scare

A student walked into Kresge Library on Nov. 19 to use the bathroom. The student has a Concealed Pistol License (CPL), so he walked in with his pistol strapped around his waist. He took his holster off to use the bathroom and, upon leaving, accidentally left the pistol behind.

A student who works at Kresge found the firearm and called a superior to handle the situation. While the Oakland University Police Department was on the way, an employee unloaded the firearm and secured the area. It is not a crime to accidentally leave a firearm somewhere and the student who forgot the weapon complied with OUPD, so police officers did not have to take any action against him.

Nobody was hurt and the problem was solved without incident. But the question remains of whether or not a firearm should have been on campus in the first place.

According to Michigan’s CPL laws, having a firearm on a college or university campus is acceptable outside of a dormitory or classroom. However, Oakland University has an ordinance in place that prohibits any kind of weaponry on campus. This includes weapons that are held with a CPL.

OUPD offers a service for Oakland’s campus community allowing anyone who wants to have a firearm with them for an off-campus activity can leave the weapon with OUPD for safekeeping.

“Please  use OUPD as a safekeeping mechanism,” OUPD Police Chief Mark Gordon said. “If you want to have your weapon with you when you leave campus, please bring it to us.”

With a campus of over 20,000 students, there is no way for OUPD to check every person on campus for weapons. Gordon asked that CPL holders make themselves aware of the ordinance and comply with OUPD’s safekeeping system.

“We have a property card that we give people so they have a receipt to pick the weapon up with,” Gordon said. “It only takes 10 minutes of your day.”

There is no time limit to how long OUPD can hold a weapon for someone. Gordon said students who live on campus and like to go hunting will leave their firearms with OUPD for the duration of the academic year except for when they want to go out and hunt.

If students, staff or faculty ever find themselves face-to-face with a firearm, Gordon recommends people act as the student worker from Kresge did and secure the area until OUPD officers can retrieve the weapon safely. He noted that, although a Kresge employee felt comfortable unloading the weapon, people should not feel like they have to touch the weapon if they are not comfortable. Even if one is comfortable handling weapons, Gordon said it is safer for everyone to let police handle such things.

“Call us [OUPD] immediately and secure the area where it is at,” he said. “Better to be safe than sorry, just don’t touch the weapon. I wouldn’t touch it myself, I would let someone else come in who has authority to be in possession of it.”