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Posted: 9/11/2001 5:00:44 AM EDT
Fearful Female Students Take Up Arms Saturday, September 08, 2001 Respond to Editor Email this Article Young women terrified of a serial rapist in the college city of Fort Collins, Colo., have taken their safety and protection into their own hands — arming themselves with handguns and joining the ranks of gun rights advocates. "I don't want to live in fear, I don't want to be afraid about going out at night. I just want him to know not everyone is going to be submissive," a 23-year-old college student said Friday as she announced she had obtained a .38-caliber special revolver. The woman, a Colorado State University economics major who asked to be only identified as "Annie," was given the gun by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a pro-gun lobbying group that had also trained Annie to use the weapon. Speaking at a press conference called by the gun group on the CSU campus, Annie brandished her new gun permit before the crowd and said she had also received a concealed weapons permit to carry the gun on campus. She said one of the six rapes that have shocked the city since the rapist first struck in May occurred just one block from her apartment. According to a spokesman for the gun group, four other students on the CSU campus have gun permits. CSU spokesman Tom Milligan said university officials would prefer students rely on safety measures, including escorts and increased security, provided by the school, but Milligan said those students with legal permits will be allowed to carry guns. "That's the law of the land," he said.
Link Posted: 9/11/2001 5:01:26 AM EDT
cont: The young woman's public announcement of her taking up of arms is a sign of the fear percolating among the 120,000 residents of Fort Collins, located about 60 miles north of Denver. Many residents have tightened security and begun locking windows and doors. Others have asked friends to stay with them. Firearms sales at Hamblen Sales have increased, and pepper spray has been flying off the shelves. The news conference was held shortly before CSU and city officials convened a meeting to discuss ways to heighten awareness about the serial rapist. The first attack was in May; the most recent was in August. In all six cases, a woman in her twenties was attacked in her apartment. Police say the assailant entered the homes through unlocked doors or windows. Under Colorado law, people with legal permits may carry guns on campus, but students are prohibited from keeping them in dormitory rooms. The use of guns drew a mixed reaction among students of the 23,000-student campus. SaraJoy Pond, a 20-year-old graphics design major, said she is uncomfortable knowing someone sitting next to her in class may have a gun. "I don't think it solves the problem. I wouldn't carry a gun," she said. Meanwhile, an 11-member police task force has been assigned to the case full-time. Police patrols also have increased. Jacob Leis, 20, of Sterling said he would like to have a gun on campus, but police said they would not allow it without a permit. He said he cannot afford a permit. "I need it for safety, and I believe it's my right," he said. Campus Police Capt. Bob Chaffee said officials are trying to discourage other students from getting gun permits. "It doesn't strike me that it makes the campus any safer to have a lot of guns on campus," he said. Annie obtained her permit under a state law that gives local authorities the right to issue gun permits. Some departments have been liberal, handing them out to people across the state, while others have refused almost every request. The permits are valid everywhere in the state, except where prohibited by federal law. Federal law prohibits firearms in courthouses, post offices and international airports. Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden sent a list of 820 current permits to local police departments, including campus police. Campus police said they check the list when they get domestic complaints or other crimes to see if the person under investigation is carrying a gun, but they do not check the list for students. Alderden did not return phone calls seeking comment on the student's permit. To get a permit in Larimer County, applicants are required to take a handgun safety course, pass a background check and pay a $130 fee. The permits are good for as long as the sheriff stays in office.
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