A Utah gun-rights group is asking its members to pressure state officials to consider only University of Utah presidential candidates who have an expansive view of citizens’ rights to arm themselves on campus.
An action alert emailed Sunday to members of Gun Owners of Utah, or GOUtah, claims that under the leadership of former President Michael Young, the U. has "harassed" and "targeted" gun owners exercising their right of self-defense in violation of state law. The group’s leadership hopes Young’s successor will overturn a campus ban on openly displaying guns.
"The best thing, of course, would be to nominate a president who actually believes in the Second Amendment and who personally owns guns and enjoys shooting. But such people are quite rare in the ‘politically correct’ realm of modern academia," the group’s email said. "However, we believe there may be a few brave souls in the academic world who at least have enough respect for the law that they’d be willing to make sure the U. complies with it and would refrain from harassing gun owners in the future."
Few U.S. campuses allow guns, concealed or otherwise, and no major public university allows open carry. Utah law is ambiguous on the open-carry issue, enabling both sides to argue they are right while taking opposite positions.