UPDATED: Umpqua Community College is yet another mass public shooting in a gun-free zone

Apr 5, 2023 | Gun Free Zones

UPDATEThe Associated Press has an article claiming that our claim that this attack didn’t occur in a gun-free zone. (We appreciate the AP updating their article and adding a note in their original article to point to our response.) In emails, the AP article’s author pointed to an article by Politifact. Politifact pointed to a statement by a spokesperson for the Umpqua Community College that said it wasn’t a gun-free zone and that people with concealed handgun permits were allowed to carry. They also point to one person who carried a permitted concealed handgun on another part of the campus at the time of the attack. We have three points of response based on our original post shown below.

— Below, we have a link to a primary source from the rules that existed at Umpqua Community College. The website is clear and offers no exceptions for concealed handgun permits.

— Students can’t call up the spokesperson (or the two university presidents, we quote). Instead, they will look at the website for information on whether they can carry.

— Yes, one student did carry a permitted concealed handgun in a different part of campus, but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t have had more if you had posted people were allowed to carry.

ORIGINALLY POSTED October 1, 2015: With at least 10 dead and 20 injured near Roseburg, Oregon on October 1, 2015, we have had yet another mass public shooting in a gun-free zone.

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at Thursday, October 1, 3.40 PM

The original document can be found here.  The campus did have three security officers, but they were also disarmed.  Of course, uniformed security officers have limited usefulness in stopping these attacks because people in uniforms are easy targets.

For those questioning whether the community college is a gun-free zone, The Register-Guard newspaper in Eugene, Oregon has this statement from the Interim community college President Rita Calvin:

Interim community college President Rita Calvin said security officers are on campus around the clock, but are not armed. The campus is a gun-free zone. . . .

Here is another statement from the recent past president of the college.

But Joe Olson, the former president of Umpqua, said he decided to keep the campus gun-free last year after a campus-wide debate. . . .

Clearly schools prevent teachers/professors from carrying a gun on campus.  The clear case here is: Court of Appeals of Oregon.Jane DOE, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. MEDFORD SCHOOL DISTRICT 549C, Defendant-Respondent.073765E2; A137804.  Decided: November 18, 2009.

In our view, the school district’s internal employment policy does not represent the sort of exercise of the “authority to regulate” firearms that the statute preempts. Because, as we have noted, the trial court erred in dismissing the declaratory judgment action rather than issuing a judgment containing a declaration as to the matter in dispute, we must vacate the judgment and remand for entry of a judgment declaring that the school district’s policy is not preempted by ORS 166.170. . . .

Employment policy thus seems clear.  The issue of whether schools can ban students from carrying guns in their student handbooks as a condition of enrollment hasn’t been decided, but it seems likely that Oregon courts would make a decision is similar to their decision on employment.

In another more recent case another Oregon state Appeals Court decision there was a challenge to Western Oregon University’s administrative rule.  In that case, the court ruled that the school did not have the authority to make such an administrative rule, but administrative rules are different from employment or enrollment policy in student or faculty handbooks.  OREGON FIREARMS EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION, an Oregon nonprofit corporation, Petitioner, v. BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION and Oregon University System, Respondents.A142974.    Decided: September 28, 2011.

In this administrative rule challenge, ORS 183.400(1), petitioner Oregon Firearms Educational Foundation seeks the invalidation of an administrative rule of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education and the Oregon University System (respondents) that imposes sanctions on persons who possess or use firearms on university property.   Petitioner contends that the rule exceeds respondents’ statutory authority, that it is preempted by ORS 166.170, and that it violates the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.   We conclude that the rule is preempted and therefore do not address whether it also violates the Second Amendment.   Accordingly, we conclude that the rule is invalid. . . .

If guns are banned through statements in student and faculty handbooks, only non-student and non-faculty members can clearly carry on schools/colleges campuses, but then there is the issue of whether schools/colleges can ban guns in buildings, and it appears that the Oregon state Appeals Court has said that schools/colleges can indeed ban guns there.

That exception, petitioner contends, demonstrates the legislature’s intention to expressly authorize persons with concealed handgun permits to carry firearms in public buildings, including buildings on state college and university campuses.   We reject the contention that a statutory exception to criminal sanctions for the possession of a handgun in public buildings indicates an intention to require public educational institutions to permit concealed handguns. . . .

The bottom line is that guns were clearly banned by everyone where the attack occurred in the classroom at Umpqua Community College.  Even if guns were somehow allowed to be carried on campus, the perception of people created by the student and faculty handbooks is that they weren’t allowed.  The policy undoubtedly reduced the number of people carrying and lowered the risk that the killer would run into someone who could quickly stop him.  At least one person apparently ignored the rules there at the school, but, unfortunately, he was not in the part of the school where the attack occurred.  By suppressing the number of permit holders, the school made it easier for the killer to commit his attack successfully.

The White House amazingly immediately called for more gun control after the attack.  From The Hill newspaper:

“The issue of sensible steps that can be taken to protect our communities from gun violence continues to be a top priority of this administration,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. . . . .
Meanwhile, the much-vaunted expanded background check law was enacted on August 9th, 2015, almost two months ago.  From NBC News:

A law that went into effect on Aug. 9 requires background checks for transactions made between individuals and online. Previously, checks were mandatory only for people seeking to buy a gun from a federally licensed dealer — at a gun store or gun show.

It is not clear where or when the shooter in Thursday’s attack obtained his weapon nor whether the new law would have had any impact.

Gun-control advocates said the new measure would prevent criminals and the mentally ill from buying guns. . . .



  1. Bob E Long

    looks as if your magical thinking policies got 10 students killed, congrats, I carry a gun daily for my protection, I teach others to carry. maybe, just maybe you should TRUST your students, as you have learned that your liberal magical thinking does nothing to prevent or deter a bad guy. I am equally sure you will not learn from this. As libs are stuck on stupid and have no idea of what common sense is.
    Bob E. Long
    President of the Freedom Ranch Pistol Academy
    Bristow, Oklahoma

    • Robert Kunsman

      .Well Said Sir

    • Brian

      Well said. Thank you for educating people on the importance of carrying for protection. It’s impossible to get a CCW where I live in California. These cowards target weak areas and do horrible damage because of our idiotic laws. The people responsible for theses dumb laws are protected by guns when speaking in public or body guards that surround them. They are obviously more interested in getting money from special interest groups than actually preventing horrendous tragedies such as this one. What’s next, make it a Christian free zone so you don’t bring it upon yourself? We have to trust our law abiding citizens that are willing to put themselves in harms way to protect the innocent. Thanks again! We need more people like you to educate. Too bad common sense isn’t so common. How do you teach someone common sense? Sometimes tragedy or becoming a victim is the only way to some of these people learn. It shouldn’t have to be that way, but that’s why people like you are proactive and try to help before they learn the hard way.

    • Steve Kallis

      So very true!

    • glashoppah

      Magical thinkers are immune to reason. One of their most enduring characteristics is the strong impetus to keep doing what doesn’t work no matter what the result. It’s the very reason it’s considered “magical”. Someday, this feel-good thing will work, kumbayah.


  2. William P Morgan

    With the lone exception of the Gabby Giffords incident, all recent mass shootings have been in “gun free” zones. Post Offices, schools, theaters, malls, recruiting stations and military installations have all provided target rich environments for lunatics. Why don’t we just prohibit firearms for liberals and tattoo bulls-eye targets on their faces? That was the loonies will know who are the easiest marks!

  3. Greg Parks

    It is an amazing thing that the government forbids its military and citizens from defending themselves by passing laws for these gun free zones and places weapons are prohibited.
    Then after a mass shooting that may well be orchestrated by elements with in the government, the potus immediately toots the gun control horn.
    It smacks of a real desperation to disarm the populace which always results in more homicides and usually results in genocide by that government. History shows that clearly

    • Robert Kunsman

      Absolutely Right

  4. gunnut

    Umpqua Community College WAS NOT a gun free zone.

    Nowhere in it does it say students are prohibited from licensed carrying. It says students MAY be prohibited (licensed v., not licensed). I also read the Oregon state law. Students ARE allowed to carry concealed on campus as long as they are licensed. And in fact, some students were CCing legally:

    (3) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to: (d) A person who is licensed under ORS 166.291 (Issuance of concealed handgun license) and 166.292 (Procedure for issuing) to carry a concealed handgun.


    The vet – identified only as “John” – told breitbart.com that he was carrying a firearm on campus in a building about 200 yards from the shooter:


    • ThinkLonger

      Look at their own safety policy: Possession, use, or threatened use of firearms (including but not limited to BB guns, air guns, water pistols, and paint guns) ammunition, explosives, dangerous chemicals, or any other objects as weapons on college property, except as expressly authorized by law or college regulations, is prohibited.”

      • ThinkLonger

        I can see how it could be debated, but how many will actually risk carrying with just the hope that “expressly authorized by law” covers them?

  5. npeben

    UCC is not a gun-free zone. There were students on campus with concealed handguns (including some veterans).

  6. Chuck Wright

    The link about Joe Olson, the former president of Umpqua, is incorrect. What’s the correct link?

  7. Chuck Wright

    Does the statement under Dangerous Devices that says, “except as expressly authorized by law” mean that students and employees with an Oregon concealed handgun license can carry a concealed handgun on the campus of Umpqua Community College?

  8. jim

    Maybe the parents of the dead students and the parents of the injured students should file a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against the school because the school did not provide adequate protection of the students while denying them the option of self protection with a concealed carry permit

  9. Robin Nelson

    It occurs to me that the next time a politician says we need more “common sense” measures, that we need to ask exactly WHAT those measures are, and request details of how safety would flow from them, one by one. There simply is no ‘common sense’ shield, short of total confiscation, that could even BEGIN to deal with someone willing to break any and all laws, and inflict maximum damage on innocents. But make them SAY it, so their end game intentions will be clear by elimination of the familiar BS talking points like ‘background checks.’

  10. Umpqua Community College

    Hey nice post. I hope it’s alright that I shared this on my FB,
    if not, no worries just tell me and I’ll remove it.
    Either way keep up the good work.


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