by Jason Lamb
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Dozens of protestors advocating concealed carry of guns on campus spoke out at UAA Wednesday.
Organizers say the University of Alaska regents' policy prohibiting concealed guns on campus should be changed.
The groups involved were the Anchorage Second Amendment Task Force and Students for Concealed Carry. They advertised the gathering, bringing together several people -- many of them with guns, which is against university policy.
No matter what you've got to say these days, it seems everybody is going to find a way to say it.
"I want my rights to be protected," said Harley Brown.
"We just ask that you leave the campus with it, OK? ... have a good day sir," a UAA campus police officer said to him.
The protest to pack heat on campus could be the most public act of civil disobedience UAA has ever seen.
"Oh my, look at all the cameras," protest organizer George Hines said.
Hines says he tried to get the laws changed by himself.
"Unfortunately, apparently nothing gets done in today's society unless you create a spectacle, so here I stand in front of all these cameras looking silly with a gun on my hip, because it's the right thing to do," he said.
So he found a way to get the word out even if it meant getting a violation.
It was the big story with every news outlet in town, but there was another story there, too.
Not too far away, Dan Henderson supports gun rights too, but he doesn't holster a gun.
"As long as I've got two arms, I've got a place to put ‘em," he said, raising the American and Alaskan flags.
He's guarding something perhaps even more powerful.
"The flag is what we're here for; the right to carry a gun is part of this flag," he said.
Henderson doesn't follow crowds and tries not to follow cameras.
"What is this thing here? Looks like a camera too. You're missing the show, aren't you?" he said.
"I don't need to make a statement," he said, "I'm just holding the flag. They'll do the statement down there."
"I now have all of you here showing the people of this state that something's wrong," Hines said.
While lots of cameras and a crowd can do the trick, some days it just takes a guy holding the flag to make you realize that it doesn't always take a big group to speak your mind.
"Three people cited for carrying a gun. So how many didn't carry a gun?" Henderson said.
"They're being interviewed and they're being on TV. That's not why I came here," he said.
Campus police say four people were given notices of campus policy violation. Only one of the four was a student, who may face disciplinary action.
There's no punishment for the other three.
Hines says he accomplished what he wanted to. He says he now has legal standing to challenge the UA regents' policy about concealed carry in court.
Contact Jason Lamb at email@example.com