From: ILPI Support <info**At_Symbol_Here**ilpi.com>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Campus Carry Laws and Research Laboratories
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2015 11:03:34 -0500
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
I won't answer the question, I'll just ask some others.
If you can't take your gun into the NMR lab for obvious reasons, then where are you safely securing it while you pop down there to run a quick spectrum? And what penalty applies if you don't properly secure it in your absence - for example, throwing it in a desk drawer without a gun lock? Who files that complaint, who enforces it? Or do you set up special lockers outside the NMR lab for anyone who has metal objects? But then again, isn't it ultimately likely someone will at some point forget to remove their weapon regardless? So do you now install a magnetometer outside the room? Interface that to the door lock? Or just ban them in the building? Can 'o worms.
My gut agrees that labs are dangerous places for guns because I can envision all kinds of scenarios. But my brain says you're talking a 1 in a million chance of gunfire in a laboratory in the first place, and then 1 in a thousand more that a bullet would hit something Really Bad and probably 100x more that it would result in injury worse than gunfire. The hazard, of course is real, but is the risk statistically significant? Are there any examples where this has been an issue? Are hospitals exempted because of the items/materials they handle? If so then laboratories clearly should be. Or is the hospital more of a political doily than practical risk assessment?
A broader question is whether your campus has set up a Threat Assessment Team which will deal with individuals whose behaviors and actions could indicate a threat to the safety of others in the campus community. And in my mind, that cuts both ways. On one hand, you have the issue of various disgruntled students/employees, one example of which was the Concordia U massacre, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concordia_University_massacre
On the other hand, there are some cases where personal defense is a real issue (domestic violence, for example). For example, a few weeks after the Concordia incident, I managed to attract my very own personal Internet sociopath who showed up on campus one day out of the blue. We had him declared persona non grata on our campus, and my lab mate started bringing his Glock to the lab because he figured that if the guy showed up to take me out, he'd probably take everyone else out at the same time, especially as there was only one way into and out of our lab…
Good luck. You guys have been thrust into the classic Kobayashi Maru scenario.
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This is the first time I have posted a question to the general community;
we are interested in your opinions and perspectives.
As many of you know, the State of Texas passed a concealed carry law
during the last legislative session. While universities cannot declare an
entire public university a =B3gun-free zone=B2, certain areas can be declared
gun free. Hospital and child care facilities, as well as public
auditoriums and Board of Regents rooms have often been exempted at other
At Texas Tech, our Institutional Laboratory Safety Committee has been
exploring under what conditions certain laboratory or research areas
should be declared gun free. So as not to bias the discussion, I will not
tell you where we are heading. But it did raise to my mind the question
that with a number of states now adopting similar laws, should EH&S
professionals be brought into the discussion at a national level?
What do you all think about this? Should all synthesis labs be gun free?
Should only certain areas, like NMR facilities or areas with high magnetic
fields, or areas with cryogenic tanks, be gun free? What about flammables?
Labs with pyrophoric materials?
I am copying Matt Roe, our head of EH&S, to this discussion thread, so
that a couple of us can follow the comments.
Texas Tech University
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