Pepper Spray Allowed on Portland State University Campus
On December 8, 2009, a student at Portland State University was issued a citation for carrying pepper spray on campus. The charges were dismissed, and prompted further investigation to clarify campus policy on personal safety devices.
Chemical agents, by law are not allowed on campus, but is has been determined that pepper spray and Mace do NOT fall under that classification, per the director of public safety Michael Soto.
Yay! Score one for common sense.
“But the [misuse] of the device could still lead to criminal charges,” says Soto. “For safety though, we recommend its better to make loud noises and stay away [from an attacker] rather than get close enough to spray.”
Well of course, I’d expect criminal charges if a student stabbed someone with a ball point pen or assaulted someone with a textbook too.
However, the use of other personal protection devices such as stun guns and TASER devices is not yet clear.
“I’m not going to say they’re allowed, I’m not going to say they’re illegal,” Soto said. “As yet, we don’t have a clear answer on Tasers, but neither do the Portland Police. More research is needed.”
It is illegal to possess dangerous weapons in public buildings, includes universities under the Oregon state law. So I imagine it will take someone else with common sence to further determine what constitutes a dangerous weapon, and what is simply a self defense item.
You can’t ban every possible item that has the potential to be used as a malicious weapon. Then colleges will have to put up signs stating “We are a gun-free, pen and pencil-free, glass bottle-free, baseball bat/lacross stick/football helmet-free, scissor-free and any other potentially dangerous-free item college campus (Kindergarden).”
All this being said, anyone that does carry pepper spray or other personal protection devices are expected to become intimately familiar with the device and practice drawing the device and using it effectively.
Hopefully this sets the precedence for more colleges and universities across the country to take a fresh, logical and practical look at their policies and procedures and take a more active role in the personal safety of their students. We have had enough rapes, assaults and other violent crimes lately… Let our students have a fighting chance.
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