UTC Police Chief: 'No guns allowed on this campus' - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UTC Police Chief: 'No guns allowed on this campus'

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill Friday that will allow handgun carry permit holders to store guns in their vehicles no matter where they are parked.

But UTC officials say not so fast, guns will still not be allowed on campus.

Despite questions about how it will affect employment law in Tennessee, the controversial guns in trunks bill will become law, meaning people with handgun carry permits can now store firearms in their vehicles where ever they park.

"I don't necessarily think that's such a good thing," says student, Tyler Martelli.

Tyler Martelli, a UTC student, was concerned over what the new law might mean for campus life.

"I just really don't feel safe about that, because some kids really would misuse guns," he says.

But UTC Police Chief Robert Ratchford says nothing about UTC's policy on firearms will change.

"Even with the passage of this bill there will not be guns allowed on the university," says Chief Ratchford.

UTC has strict guidelines when it comes to guns. They aren't allowed on campus even if the owner has a permit.

Ratchford says the way the bill is written allows UTC to maintain that policy,
and it will because Ratchford says allowing guns on campus would only escalate the potential for violence.

"A well-meaning citizen, should they be allowed to bring a firearm to a university, if they were to want to intervene in an act of violence or critical incident even though they may be well-meaning, basically they could end up becoming another potential victim," says Ratchford.

Bottom-line: Ratchford says gun carry permit holders need to think twice before bringing firearms on campus, despite the new law.

"Be sure and be aware of what the bill exactly details," says Chief Ratchford.

According to the guns in trunks bill, more than 371,000 Tennesseans hold a handgun carry permit.

The bill officially becomes law on July 1.

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