A hot glue gun like this one was mistaken for a firearm at Colgate University in New York.
A glue gun like this caused a lockdown at Colgate University. The student who was carrying the device had been working on a project for an art class.
A glue gun like this caused a lockdown at Colgate University. The student who was carrying the device had been working on a project for an art class. mfg photo

On May 2, students at Colgate University in New York were notified by school officials of a potentially dangerous situation involving a person with a gun, according to this story from newyorkupstate.com.

The story says university officials received reports of someone who had “entered the O’Connor Campus Center while carrying what witnesses believed was a weapon,” according to a statement from media relations manager Daniel DeVries.

Officials sent alerts shortly after 8 p.m. asking everyone to leave the campus center, referred to as the Coop, “because of a dangerous situation.”

“There is an armed person at the Coop,” the university Tweeted, the story says. “Find a safe space and remain indoors. If you are off-campus, stay away.”

Police were notified and responded to investigate while the school remained on lockdown.

However, there was no emergency, no danger, and no gun. Apparently, somebody or several somebodies saw a student using a hot glue gun for an art project and thought it was a firearm.

Let that sink in for a while. At the top of this story, you can see what a glue gun commonly used for arts and crafts looks like.

Most have a electrical wire attached so it can heat up a stick of glue that feeds into the back and eject it as a heated gel.

As a public service for those reading this who may not be familiar with guns, we have rounded up images of some other objects that have a shape vaguely reminiscent of a firearm, since they were designed for use with the human hand.


These items, while vaguely shaped like guns, are not firearms.
These items, while vaguely shaped like guns, are not firearms. mfg photos

Just before 1 a.m., the university released a statement saying “emergency situation involving reports of an individual allegedly carrying a gun has been resolved after a campus-wide search.”

“After thorough investigation, and with the assistance of the person in question, law enforcement identified the individual as a student who was using a glue gun for an art project, confirmed the misunderstanding, and released the campus from lockdown,” DeVries said in the statement.

Over at St. Louis University in Missouri this week, police took a male student into custody after an active investigation that prompted a shelter-in-place order for the school on Wednesday.

According to this story from kmov.com, school officials sent out a campus alert on Wednesday following a report of a suspicious person who some said was wearing a black hoodie and may have a handgun. The school later said shots were fired outside Marchetti East and issued the order.

When police investigated they couldn’t verify that any shots were fired and the only person they found remotely fitting the description was a student with a rubber-band gun in his dorm room, the story says.

The university later released this statement:

“We have confirmed that the toy gun seen in Spring Hall was part of an assignment in the Aerospace and Mechanical “Engineering Manufacturing Procedures” class. The assignment, intended to have students build a working device with interchangeable parts, was to make toy rubber band guns.

“The instructor gave the students several options for projects, but says the students unanimously chose to make the rubber band guns. The instructor says he warned the students not to display them out of class. However, at least one student created a very realistic toy gun and openly carried it into his residence hall. This led to today’s alerts and understandable concern and fear on campus.

“All of the students who made the rubber band guns are being informed tonight to place the toy guns in a closed container and bring them to the Parks College Dean’s Office first thing tomorrow. All of the toy guns will then be destroyed.

“This is the first time toy guns have been made in this class, and it will be the last. The University understands how much anxiety this issue created today and will ensure it does not happen again.”

So, according to the university, its students, most or all of whom are adults over the age of 18, cannot be allowed to possess a child’s toy that launches rubber bands.

What, exactly, is going on here?

This post on pjmedia.com, in response to the Colgate University incident, lists a number of similar incidents in recent months involving a stick, a water gun, a breakfast pastry, and even fingers extended in the shape of a gun.

The post goes on to call for a “grassroots movement, a community organization of some kind against a dangerous epidemic plaguing our nation: GUN PANIC,” the post by Liz Sheld declares, “This poisonous contagion is wiping out what we as a society used to call common sense.”