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College of Lake County passes new policy on concealed carry

College Lake County Police cars. | Jim Newton/Sun-Times Media

College of Lake County Police cars. | Jim Newton/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 18, 2014 4:18AM

The College of Lake County prides itself on the security and the safety of its campus, and that will continue as Illinois joins the ranks of concealed carry states in 2014.

The CLC Board passed a new gun policy Wednesday night prohibiting anyone but sworn police officers from carrying a firearm on college-owned or controlled property.

“The new policy applies to everyone coming to our facilities — whether employees, students or visitors, and it is consistent with what other schools are doing to protect the safety of their campuses,” CLC Board Chairman Amanda Howland said following the meeting.

Under the new policy, enacted to comply with Illinois’ Firearm Concealed Carry Act, anyone with a concealed carry license coming to the Grayslake or Southlake campus in Vernon Hills must store their weapon, unloaded, in a secure case or locked container out of plain view in their parked vehicle.

CLC Police Chief Tom Guenther said those with firearm permits may also store weapons out of view in the trunks of their cars, but guns must be unloaded before taken out of a car and placed in the trunk in school parking lots.

Guenther said the school’s administration and police department have carefully studied the new law and are prepared to comply with it while keeping guns off campus.

“In the buildings here, no guns except for those (carried) by sworn police officers,” he said. “There’s going to be a learning curve for everybody involved — the public, the institutions and the police.”

Part of the education process will be red and white “no gun” signs placed in parking lots and stickers placed on entrance doors.

At the Lakeshore campus in Waukegan, where CLC does not own a parking facility, those with a concealed carry license must comply with the laws and regulations of the city, but as at the Grayslake and Southlake campuses, they cannot carry a weapon on campus.

Although there have been no incident reports of guns on campus in the two years Guenther has been at the helm, he said CLC takes security and the potential for gun violence very seriously.

“CLC is taking security extremely seriously. Preparation has been multi-dimensional here at the college at all levels,” he said, adding that preparation has included tabletop exercises and rapid deployment training, “a robust camera system on all three campuses,” new security locks on entrance doors and incident notification plans for staff and students.

Guenther said the college is very similar to any local village and its police force reflects that.

“We’re a microcosm of any small town in the area,” he said. “We have to be as prepared as any municipal department would be.”

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