From Alan Lytle, Kentucky Public Radio
The University of Kentucky’s chief of police says he’s disappointed in yesterday’s ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court that students and staff members at UK and the commonwealth’s other universities may legally store guns and other deadly weapons in a car’s glove compartment, but that the schools may continue to regulate them elsewhere on campus.
The decision came in the case of University of Kentucky graduate student and anesthesia technician Michael Mitchell, who lost his job in 2009 after campus police found a semi-automatic pistol in his car.
Mitchell, who has a concealed weapons permit, sued the university, claiming he was wrongfully fired for having the gun in his car.
Fayette County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Larson says the ruling is a clear example of state law, which allows a law-abiding gun owner to store a firearm in a car’s glove compartment, trumping a university’s safety policy.
“There are some very, very strong feelings in support of the second amendment that allows people to own and possess firearms around the country. So does this surprise me? No, because the legislature made, you know, they said that that was an exemption from any university regulations and that was that you can have it on university property so long as it was in the glove box,” Larson said.
“Our top priority is to protect the safety of students, faculty and staff at UK,” said UK Police Chief Joe Monroe in a statement. “We are concerned about anything that potentially limits the options police have in safeguarding the campus. In the coming days, we will be reviewing the ruling in greater detail to determine the legal and policy options at our disposal in addressing this serious issue.”
Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine ruled in favor of the university. The high court reinstated Mitchell’s suit and sent it back to Fayette Circuit Court for further proceedings.