North Carolina is one of many states that prohibit students from carrying a concealed weapon on campus. Does this mean N.C. Central University students can fully rely on university police to protect them?
North Carolina law prohibits anyone with or without a permit from carrying a gun, openly or concealed, on school property or during an event held by the school. However, it does allow for a permit holder to have their gun stored in a locked vehicle.
Despite the loophole that permit holders can have their gun stored in a locked vehicle, NCCU University Police Cpt. Alvin Carter says that being caught with a weapon is in violation of the law.
“Students are as safe on campus as they would be anywhere else in this city. We take extra precautions and the officers are well-trained,” Carter says.
The alert training officers go through includes special circumstances like active shooter situations.
“If you report the active shooter, then [officers] are going to go to the threat and stop it,” he explains.
During an active shooter situation, the police begin by calling in the particulars of the situation to their communications and putting it out from there to their partners in Durham’s own law enforcement.
With the internal alerts out, university police would then proceed to lock down campus and put the information into the incident command systems. This allows officers to isolate the situation and prevent other liabilities from getting on campus.
According to Captain Carter, the established next step to inform students and faculty of the situation is to send out an ‘Eagle Alert’ email through Blackboard and sound the emergency alert warning system.
The emergency alert warning system is a part of the crisis plan used almost solely as an emergency notification system. Individuals unable to receive Eagle Alerts will hear the sirens and know that there is a crisis on campus that way. Emergency alert sirens are placed around campus located at the north side of Benjamin Ruffin Residence Hall near Concord Street, the south side of the student union on Nelson Street by the loading dock driveway and the east side of the track by New Residence II and the LeRoy T. Walker Complex.
With a surge of school shootings happening across the country — most notably the shooting that claimed 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fl. — many parents, teachers and students have demanded the passing of stricter gun laws.
Rather than passing those laws, President Donald Trump proposed that he would offer bonuses to teachers who go through training in order to conceal a weapon late last month.
Mass communication junior Jordan Harris says that he wouldn’t feel safe if other students were allowed to carry guns in the classroom.
“Someone might get into a disagreement and you never know what could happen,” Harris says. “I don’t think teachers having guns would help either; it would just make the situation worse.”
Another mass communication junior, Abigail Sherrod, agrees with campus police that reporting suspicious activity is the best way to help ensure your safety.
“If I have information that could stop someone from getting hurt, I would obviously do my best to reveal it,” Sherrod says.
Reporting this behavior likely would have saved lives in places like Parkland, the captain notes.
“We’ve been very blessed and lucky that we don’t have active shooter situations on a consistent basis here on campus,” Carter says.
Reports of suspicious or potential life-threatening behavior can be reported to university police at (919) 530-6106.