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Rathdrum man arrested for carrying gun on college campus

UPDATED: Mon., Feb. 10, 2014, 3:12 p.m.

While Idaho lawmakers mull a bill to loosen gun bans on college campuses, a student was arrested today at North Idaho College for taking a concealed handgun into a classroom.

Another student told authorities the man was upset, has used illegal drugs, had purchased 75 hollow-point rounds for the revolver and had talked about not being afraid to die.

Michael Rustin Dan, 34, of Rathdrum was taken into custody without incident shortly after 9 a.m. Coeur d’Alene Police charged Dan with unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia commonly used for methamphetamine.

Dan admitted to officers he uses meth and appeared to be under the influence or the residual effect of recent use, police spokeswoman Sgt. Christie Wood said. He was taken to the Kootenai County Jail where he later posted bond for both misdemeanor offenses.

Dan did not threaten employees or students, but he did violate a prohibition on carrying firearms on campus – a rule college administrators are trying to preserve as legislators debate a bill that would allow some people to carry guns on public college campuses.

“I think this is a good example of why we oppose the policy as it has been proposed in the legislation,” Graydon Stanley, vice president for student affairs at NIC, said Monday.

“It gives support to the argument that higher education is making in Idaho about we want to know who the good guys are and the bad guys are, and we have a system in place that has consistently proven to make this a safe campus,” Stanley said.

The bill, opposed by the state Board of Education and all eight public college and university presidents, would allow retired law enforcement officers and people with Idaho’s enhanced concealed-carry permit to bring firearms to campus. It would forbid guns from dormitories and large arenas or meeting rooms seating more than 1,000.

College officials say the existing general prohibition on guns makes it unambiguous what is acceptable and what isn’t, as Monday’s incident demonstrated, Stanley said.

“It was very clear obviously to this student, and I think would have been to any others that knew about it, that this gun is not allowed here, we need to take action,” he said.

Another student said he saw Dan in class last Thursday with the revolver holstered under his coat. That witness told campus security he thought Dan would be back in class with the gun Monday, and police were called in.

The witness also said he was with Dan last Thursday night and heard him talk about dying and not being afraid to die, and he claimed that Dan bought 75 hollow-point rounds for the gun. The student said Dan has relationship problems and is upset, and he was worried Dan would harm himself.

Dan was confronted in class in the Hedlund Building, which houses professional-technical programs. Other classrooms were locked down as a precautionary measure while officers removed Dan from the classroom and arrested him.

Dan does not have a concealed weapons permit, Wood said.

He has had numerous run-ins with the law, mostly recently an arrest last June for resisting or obstructing officers. That charge was amended to disturbing the peace, and Dan was found guilty late last month and sentenced to 10 days in jail.


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