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Firearm incidents raise questions on campus

By Cameron Johnson, Multimedia Editor

On Nov. 17, there was a gun incident at the Gables where a man brandished a firearm and was arrested by police. The incident raised questions about guns on campus and how to best be safe on campus.

“[Mark Huddleston] was actually pretty surprised,” New Hampshire State Representative and Student Body President Joseph Sweeney said. “It was pretty much an outlier in recent memory. [He] doesn’t remember another time a gun was [brandished] out in the open. That incident was very rare.”

On the unlikely occasion when there is an incident, the University of New Hampshire Police Department is well prepared.

“Our response time to crimes in progress is quick,” Executive Director of Safety and Chief of Police Paul Dean said in an email. “Our dispatch center, in the case of a call involving a person(s) with a gun, they will deploy our campus alert system.”

So how does a student not run afoul of the laws if they wish to own a firearm?

“If you are going to own a firearm as a student, have a purpose,” senior Joe Murphy said. “So if you are going to hunt, then have it and only have it for hunting season and put it in the police barracks, because you can store them there. Then bring it home; you really don’t need a firearm for protection on this campus.”

Murphy is the owner of many different firearms and is well acquainted with their use and maintenance.

“I have shotguns, rifles [and] pistols. I have 19 [firearms] in total,” Murphy said. “I’ve been to several different classes; I’ve been to classes from the state …. I’ve been around guns all my life. I know the ins and outs of all of them and how to be safe with them. And I was trained by government guidelines.”

One of the best ways to stay safe with firearms is to have a secure place to store your firearms. According to the Centers for Disease Control, firearms accidentally injure roughly 16,800 people each year.

“Don’t be near it if you’re going to be drinking or doing stupid things; just make sure it’s locked away or you don’t have access to it, ‘cause alcohol and firearms don’t mix,” Sweeney said.

There are multiple organizations around campus that offer gun safety courses, such as Sig Sauer Academy in Epping and the Major Waldron Sportmen’s Association in Barrington, for those interested in learning how to properly use their firearms.

“Just know why you have [your firearms] and just be smart about it,” Sweeney said.

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