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Judge sides with UI in gun-ban case

Thu., Dec. 8, 2011, 3:41 p.m.

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) — A state judge ruled Thursday in favor of the University of Idaho in a lawsuit challenging the school’s restrictions on keeping firearms in on-campus housing.

The ruling was handed down by 2nd District Judge John Stegner in a case brought by second-year law student Aaron Tribble. He filed his lawsuit in January, claiming that the university’s ban on firearms at his on-campus apartment infringed on his constitutional rights.

The university bans firearms on campus, but students are allowed to store and check out their guns at a police substation on the Moscow campus.

University attorneys said that Tribble agreed to waive certain rights when he entered into an agreement to live on campus — an argument that the judge agreed with, the Moscow-Pullman Daily News reported. The judge wrote the state Board of Regents has a right to regulate and maintain a safe environment on campus.

University officials issued a response saying they were pleased with the decision.

“It affirms our position that the university does have the legal authority to regulate firearms on campus, including in university-owned student residences. Our firearms policy has been part of the faculty/staff and student handbooks since the mid-1970s,” the university said.

Tribble represented himself in the case and claimed that he should be allowed to keep guns and ammunition at his residence in a campus housing complex for students who are married and with children. He argued that the university policy on firearms violated his inalienable right to “enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property; pursuing happiness and securing safety” as stated in the Idaho Constitution.

After filing the lawsuit earlier this year, Tribble voluntary entered into a new housing contract to remain at his on-campus residence for another year, said school attorneys, who also emphasized that students are not required to live on campus and Tribble could have secured housing elsewhere in Moscow.

Tribble is not the first student to challenge the legitimacy of the university’s rules for firearms. Al Baker, a third-year UI law student and the Idaho director of the Students for Concealed Carry organization, has been working to overturn campus bans.

He has said that he supports Tribble’s efforts to fight rules targeting on-campus family housing.

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