On October 14, campus police at the City College of San Francisco received a call reporting a man with a gun in the library, according to this story from ABC. Students ducked for cover or ran, and the man fled with no shots being fired, but it did highlight a glaring problem with the response from authorities.
It only took campus police one minute to arrive on the scene, but being armed only with pepper spray and batons, they had to wait for San Francisco police armed with firearms to arrive before they could enter the building. That took another three to five minutes.
"Those minutes are critical in situations like this," said former San Francisco Police Department Captain Dan Lawson, who is now head of security at the University of San Francisco, in the story. "(Police) go in there and stop the threat, if at all possible, rather than waiting for special weapons teams and other teams."
Almost all of the community colleges in California arm their police, the story says, but the City College of San Francisco's 80,000 students attend 11 different "gun-free" campuses.
"What they mean by gun free is that the police don't have guns. It doesn't mean that, on a daily basis, people aren't bringing guns to these campuses," said former CCSF Police Chief Carl Koehler in the story, who tried unsuccessfully to convince the college to arm their officers.
"That's one of the reasons I resigned, because the college never really took a serious look at it," Koehler said.
The Interim City College Chancellor Susan Lamb said the issue is complex, with strong feelings on both sides. "I think there are ways you can be safe without necessarily carrying guns, but I think guns are an added safety measure," she said.
She says she plans to make an official recommendation to college trustees in a few months.