Public Safety found weapons, drugs, alcohol and drug paraphernalia during a room search in North Morlan Hall March 6.
Chief of Public Safety Randy Burba said he didn’t consider the weapon, which was an airsoft gun, to be that threatening to the campus because airsoft guns are not considered a “dangerous firearm” by the California definition. However, possession of an airsoft gun on campus is still a policy violation.
“People could mistake it for a real gun, which could cause panic for somebody else with a real gun,” Burba said. ”I mean, we’ve seen tragedies where young people were shot by the police because (police) thought it was a real gun, so obviously, you need to use good judgment and be careful how you present or display any type of weapon.”
Chapman’s Student Conduct Code states that any type of firearm, BB pellet gun, paint gun or realistic copy of a weapon is prohibited on campus – which means a student could be punished for being in possession of something like an airsoft gun.
“The penalty a student faces is really dependent on the situation,” said Director of Student Conduct Colleen Wood, who could not comment on what will happen in this specific case. “It’s all circumstantial, but in this case, the student would get at least conduct review or educational sanctions.”
Wood said that sanctions also depend on whether or not the student uses the weapon on campus, because possession of some weapons is a police violation, instead of a Student Conduct Code violation.
“For example, an airsoft gun is legal off campus, whereas a pair of brass knuckles is illegal in all of California,” Wood said.
The search, Burba said, was requested by North Morlan resident advisers due to suspicions of narcotics in the room.
According to the Residence Living License Agreement, if a student violates policies such as drug and alcohol possession, physical or sexual harassment, excess noise, possession of weapons and other inappropriate behaviors, then the resident may be subject to relocation on campus or dismissed from residence life altogether.
Freshman sociology major and North Morlan Hall resident Inaya Shore said that this conduct code infraction didn’t make her feel unsafe in her living situation.
“I feel like if someone has an airsoft gun, it’s not because they want to hurt people,” she said. “They probably just have it for fun. I don’t really understand how it’s dangerous, unless something bad actually happens with it.”
Although the possession of airsoft guns is legal in California, the student’s underage possession of drugs, alcohol and drug paraphernalia (such as bongs, pipes, marijuana grinders and lighters) is illegal.
This particular violation did not involve the Orange Police Department, Burba said, because alcohol and drug infringements are common on school grounds.