Movie on guns at the U to air on FX

Utah’s unusual gun laws that allow students to carry concealed firearms on campus will be part of popular filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s upcoming documentary about gun policy.

Spurlock, who is best known for his 2004 film “Supersize Me,” brought a camera crew to interview students on campus Wednesday for the documentary. Crew members said the piece is set to air on the FX network in November.

Utah is the only state where public universities are required to allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus. Weapon holders must have a permit, requiring them to be at least 21 years old to carry on campus. The U’s previous policy that banned concealed weapons on campus was struck down last year after the U lost a legal battle with the state over the issue.

The crew interviewed members of the Second Amendment Students of Utah at the student government’s annual Impact Day. Members of the club created a bit of controversy at the event by displaying plastic replicas of about a dozen firearms on their table. Clark Aposhian, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association and several other groups, supplied the fake guns.

Earlier in the day, Student Body President Spencer Pearson asked the group to refrain from displaying the plastic guns because, he said, it might cause some to worry. After consulting with U legal counsel, Pearson determined the U could not prevent the group from displaying the guns, but asked them to avoid waving or carrying the plastic guns around.

Spurlock’s camera crew caught a debate between students who chastised the group for bringing the replicas to the event.

Sophomore Bob Kubichek said although he owns guns, he confronted the group because he thought they unnecessarily created a tense situation and brought replicas of assault riffles an ordinary person would never use. He said the group was simply trying to generate attention because Spurlock was filming on campus

“You’re making us all look crazy…that’s not a responsible gun owner,” said Kubichek, a political science major. “They knew this documentary was going on so they wanted to get press attention.”

Brent Tenney, president of the Second Amendment Students of Utah, said his group is simply trying to educate students about how to safely use guns.

“In the end, free speech won and we were okay,” said Tenney, a senior majoring in information systems.

U spokeswoman Coralie Alder agreed that the group was “trying to be provocative.” However, she avoided criticizing the students and said the U is not trying to rehash the debate over gun laws.

“Frankly, I’d love to see us move forward and not keep debating this issue — that’s just my personal opinion,” Alder said. “The U is following the law, there’s no debate (going on) right now.”

She said the U is focusing on how to keep students safe. An administrative task force is currently evaluating the U’s safety policies.

Fred Esplin, vice president for institutional advancement at the U, said although he is unfamiliar with Spurlock and the documentary, the coverage is probably not helping the university.

“National attention to our policy allowing concealed weapons on campus is probably not a good thing for our national reputation,” Esplin said.

While Alder said the group did not need permission to film on campus, she said they must sign a contract and allow the U to approve of the film if it bears any recognizable logos or representations of the school.

“My understanding is that (the U is) just a small part of their documentary,” Alder said.

Spurlock’s film “Supersize Me” is about the health problems he experienced after eating fast-food from McDonald’s three times a day for a month. He also stars in a reality program on FX called “30 Days.”

Spurlock’s producer Emma Webster declined to comment about the film because she said the crew did not have permission from the studio behind the project.

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Jarad Reddekopp

Brent Tenney, president of the Second Amendment Students of Utah, demonstrates safe gun use by displaying some gun replicas Wednesday in the Union.