As reported by 9News (CO):
Sheriff calls for guns on campus and mental health reform
written by: Adam Chodak , 9NEWS Northern Reporter
created: 6/6/2007 3:33:10 PM
Last updated: 6/6/2007 6:32:41 PM
FORT COLLINS – The Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden is not one to hold back his opinion. So it is not all that surprising that his most recent editorial has some strong opinions regarding gun control at universities and mental health.
Twice a month, Alderden posts an editorial called the "Bull's-eye" on his office's Web site. This week, he posted one addressing issues that arose in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech University shootings.
He wrote, "One of the real tragedies of the situation at Virginia Tech is that misguided administrators created a gun-free zone."
In an interview, Alderden said Colorado State University has it right. CSU allows students and faculty to carry concealed firearms on campus. Alderden says the last thing universities should do right now is create more gun control.
"When you create an area where law-abiding citizens can't defend themselves, it just creates a greater opportunity for those who are criminally-minded," Alderden said to 9NEWS.
The sheriff then switches gears in the editorial saying Virginia Tech and a recent murder-suicide in Fort Collins, in which a man shot his neighbor to death in a business complex, show the need for mental health reform.
In the editorial, he wrote, "The problem is that it isn't illegal to be crazy and the system is ill equipped to deal with the chronically mentally ill."
Alderden then suggests a solution.
"These people need more mental health treatment and there needs to be a greater ability to institutionalize these people who do pose a threat to society," he writes.
Not everyone agrees with Alderden.
The University of Colorado at Boulder forbids concealed firearms on campus. CU Police Department Commander Brad Wiesley says switching that policy could decrease safety on campus.
"There's no standard way to identify the good guys versus the bad guys in the middle of an active shooting situation. It tremendously complicates the response for officers responding," said Wiesley.
On the mental health front, the National Alliance on Mental Health says there are alternatives to institutionalizing more people.
"The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that the likelihood of violence by people with mental illness is low … More often, people living with mental illness are the victims of violence," states NAMI in a press release that went out after the Virginia Tech shootings.
The story can be found at; http://www.9news.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=71477
The sheriffs blog entry can be found at; http://www.larimer.org/sheriff/bulls_Eye/BullEye.htm