Photo provided by Deputy Police Chief Zegadlo: Illinois concealed carry law goes into effect Jan. 1 with possible implications for operations at Lewis.
T’rell Campbell, Contributor
Jan. 1, 2014 is the day that Illinois implements the concealed carry law. That law will affect Lewis University when it goes into effect.
The law will allow people who are 21 or older with a valid FOID (Firearm’s Operators Identification) card, and who have taken a 16-hour training class, to carry their weapons on them.
The law states that schools are prohibited areas, but will allow students who have cars, resident and commuter, to keep their firearms stored in their cars in the parking lots around campus.
Mike Zegadlo, deputy chief of police, said, “The statute allows for the Concealed Carry License holder to transport the gun from the passenger side to the trunk to secure the gun.”
Zegadlo stated that Lewis is currently thinking about having storage lockers for those who would acquire the license.
“I think there are some distinct challenges to us providing storage,” Zegadlo said. “The more opportunity you give a gun owner to handle their gun provides more chances for an incident.”
Zegadlo wants to make sure people are safe on campus, even stating that LUPD and other law enforcement officials would have to adapt their police work with the new law.
“Police officers in the state of Illinois are going to have to change the way they do business,” Zegadlo said. “Prior to this police officers in the state of Illinois didn’t have to worry about someone with guns. Now we have to worry about someone legally owning a gun. When the law goes into effect we’ll have to ask if someone has a firearm in their possession.”
That safety issue is one that students are taking into account as well.
“I would feel less safe because I personally won’t be carrying a gun,” said Rachael Holan, junior graphic design major. “Knowing someone could go a little crazy one day and pull out a gun worries me.”
Some students are even concerned that the leeway of having a firearm on campus can present more problems.
“What’s to stop a student from bringing a gun into a building on campus?” asked Dan Simpson, senior criminal justice major. “Just because they are not supposed to, doesn’t mean they are not going to.”
The faculty will be affected by the law, but their take on the subject comes from a different perspective, by focusing on the core values of Lewis.
“We’re Catholic, we’re Lasallian, we’re a school that espouses certain values about community and about justice in the Christian sense of the word,” said Dr. Christie Billups, coordinator of service learning. “I would argue, with some validity, where would guns fit into the Christian community.”