Debate, and Confusion, Over Oregon's Gun Rules After Deadly Shooting – NBCNews.com
ROSEBURG, Oregon — The debate over whether students or teachers carrying concealed weapons could have averted — or at least diminished — this week’s tragedy at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College has intensified in the aftermath of the deadly shooting here on Thursday.
By Friday morning, social media sites and political talk shows were buzzing with accusations by gun rights advocates that the rural college was effectively a “gun-free zone” due to a school security policy that they said flew in the face of state law allowing permit holders to carry concealed weapons on campus.
Backers of tighter gun controls pointed out that Oregon is one of just eight states that legally permit concealed weapons to be carried on campus and that the UCC security policy allowed users to carry weapons “expressly authorized by law.” They in turn charged that gun control foes were trying to steer the conversation away from the latest in a series of deadly school shootings.
UCC officials, who might have been able to arbitrate the dueling claims, could not be reached for comment Friday.
That left John Parker standing squarely in the middle of the rhetorical hurricane — and not bothering to duck for cover.
The 36-year-old Air Force veteran became the human face of the concealed carry debate by giving numerous network interviews Thursday in which he said that he had his handgun with him on campus that morning but was not in a position to use it — he was locked down in the school’s veterans center several hundred yards away from the science hall where the shooting took place.
Amanda Calver, 30, lays a candle during a vigil in Roseburg, Oregon late on October 1, 2015, for those killed and wounded in the shooting at Umpqua Community College. CENGIZ YAR JR. / AFP – Getty Images
Thinking Parker might be able to clear up the confusion about the UCC policy on concealed weapons, NBC News paid a visit to his home on Friday morning.
While he generously shared his views about guns in general and the politicization of a debate that he said should be focused on mental health — not the “perverted fear of an inanimate object” — Parker said he had no idea what the UCC policy is on concealed carry and hadn’t bothered to check.
“I don’t care what the policy is,” he said. “I know what the law is.”
Parker says his right …Read More