Letter to the Editor: A toy does not constitute a ‘gun scare’


The continuing U firearms saga has finally reached the point of absurdity (“Alcohol raid in residence hall results in gun scare,” April 4). As usual, Chronicle staffers are as complicit by reporting the hysteria unchecked as those who create it.

The confiscation of a toy, no matter how realistic, should never have happened because it was not in violation of any federal, state or local laws, nor of the U rules. It wasn’t “dangerous,” at least no more so than plastic hors d’oeuvres swords that resemble the real thing.

Even if the toy were, in fact, a firearm, its confiscation would likely have violated federal and state laws if the firearm were owned legally by the person who possessed it. As U law professors teach daily, laws supersede U rules.

U housing coordinator Megan Cunha damaged any prosecution of the toy possession by admitting that she, not a law-enforcement officer, confiscated it earlier. She also prejudiced any prosecution of the alcohol and noise-related offenses by introducing the toy evidence when the officer was investigating a wholly unrelated matter.

The most absurd thing, however, was that the “gun scare” existed only on Chronicle pages, not in U housing.

There was no gun, there was no dangerous weapon, there was no legal confiscation and there was no uninfluenced criminal investigation.

What’s news to me is how an officer has reportedly no reaction to someone, U staffer or not, who reveals anything like a firearm in the middle of a disturbance investigation.

This kind of bungling is the result of the illegal and mistaken U firearms policy that invites hysterical behavior by U staffers who aren’t officers and don’t know or obey the laws.

David Nelson