The FBI tells us that active-shooter scenarios occur in all sorts of environments where guns are allowed—homes, businesses, outdoor spaces. (In fact, there was another mass shooting the same day as the Oregon massacre, leaving three dead and one severely wounded in a home in North Florida.) And Umpqua Community College itself wasn’t a gun-free zone. Oregon is one of seven states that allow guns on college campuses—the consequence of a 2011 court decision that overturned a longstanding ban. In 2012, the state board of education introduced several limitations on campus carry, but those were not widely enforced.
School policy at UCC does ban students from carrying guns into buildings except as “authorized by law,” but at least one student interpreted his concealed handgun license as legal authorization.
John Parker Jr., an Umpqua student and Air Force veteran, told multiple media outlets that he was armed and on campus at the time of the attack last week. Parker and other student veterans (perhaps also armed) thought about intervening. “Luckily we made the choice not to get involved,” Parker told MSNBC. “We were quite a distance away from the actual building where it was happening, which could have opened us up to being potential targets ourselves.”
Parker’s story changed when he spoke to Fox News’ Sean Hannity.