After an hour of discussion, the changes in the proposed plan boiled down to what to do about one semi-colon. Now the proposed policy will go to the Board for a first reading. At the conclusion of Item 8, I left, so I didn't hear the date for the board meeting announced. According to the published calendar on www.mchenry.edu, that meeting will be December 19th at 6:30PM. (The Committee of the Whole (whole what, I always wonder...) meets tomorrow night, and concealed carry is not on its published agenda.)
Fairly earlier in the discussion of Item 8 Committee member and Trustee Chris Jenner said he didn't think any Concealed Carry Policy was needed, and then Cynthia Kisser, Chair of the Policy Committee, took a straw vote. The majority wanted to continue discussion. Thanks for trying, Chris.
The Director of Campus Security, Mike Clesceri, was there and spoke. He expressed concern to the Committee that a concealed carry licensee might enter an MCC building while armed, and then they'd have to deal with a person on campus with a firearm. A licensee might claim that he didn't know that MCC was a prohibited area. The public comment period was closed, but I certainly wanted to tell the Committee what my estimate of such a likelihood is. Somewhere between zero and none!
No reference was made to the 16 hours of training and education that an applicant must have. Everyone getting a concealed carry license will know that s/he is not allowed in a building on MCC's campus! If a licensee enters an MCC building, the campus police would have every right to arrest him. That's a given. They might just inspect his license and escort him to his vehicle, but it sounded like they'd also report him to the State Police. The word "arrest" was not mentioned. [CLARIFICATION: Director Clesceri's remark about reporting an armed licensee to ISP was in reference to a situation when the licensee in an MCC building might lie about being armed, when in fact he was. That's a clear violation of the law by the licensee and merits any reporting and/or arrest.]
A licensee should not be so dumb as to enter one of the many prohibited places.
The attorney present informed the Committee of the "safe harbor" provisions of the new law. A person arriving at MCC, armed, in his vehicle can park and then store his unloaded firearm in the trunk. MCC will designate Parking Lots A and B as gun-free zones, because they are near the child care center. Legally-armed students, staff and visitors will have to park in Lots C and D, and they will be so marked. Chair Kisser was worried about some small child's parent seeing an armed student arrive in the parking lot and "change out" (unload) his firearm and store it in the trunk of his vehicle. At that point I wanted to say that no licensee is going to attract attention while unloading or reloading his firearm.
MCC is considering the "clear and present danger" wording for its concealed carry policy. This is a dangerous area that is open to abuse. What makes the reporting person an "authority" on what is or is not a danger. The law itself seems to be clear, but a Reporter could misunderstand, misconstrue or intentionally disregard the intent of an elevated conversation and then report a licensee to the Illinois State Police. And then a whole pile of trouble will start for the licensee.
The full Board should hear from members of the community, before it votes on the concealed carry policy. Right now it's hearing only from staffers and the attorney, Nancy (didn't get her last name). The attorney presented the information evenly and did not seem biased when explaining the new law.
Toward the end of the discussion, the question arose as to the carrying of concealed weapons by off-duty law enforcement officers. While they went off on a tangent about an off-duty sheriff's deputy from a Wyoming town (pop. 5) coming to school armed, it sounded to me like the committee intended to bar all armed off-duty law enforcement officers from campus. The conversation went both ways, and I wasn't sure how it ended up.
|"Let's design a horse," said the committee.|
I could not help thinking tonight of the joke I heard years ago about how a zebra came about. A committee was told to design a horse; by the time they got done with their meeting, the end result was a zebra! I know that I am a terrible committee person, because I quickly tire of wasting time and want action. This whole Item 8 could have been handled in ten minutes of efficient, organized discussion.