Friday Classes Optional At Plymouth State Over Gun Protests

By Lynne Tuohy, Associated Press

PLYMOUTH, N.H. (CBS/AP) — Two men who said they would bring guns with them to a state university campus to protest a policy banning them made their case with words, not weapons, Friday.

Former police Officer Bradley Jardis and Army veteran Tommy Mozingo showed up at Plymouth State University in suits and clearly without the loaded rifles they had planned to tote.

When asked if they were carrying weapons, they responded, “not going to confirm nor deny.”

WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk reports

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports

Had they brought weapons, they faced being charged with contempt of a court order issued Thursday barring them from bringing weapons onto any state university campus in New Hampshire.

Jardis told a small crowd of about 80 students, supporters and security officers that he was glad university officials had obtained the court order.

“We wouldn’t have drawn this much attention without it,” Jardis said.

Several students thanked him for coming and voiced their support. Others criticized him for disrupting the last day of classes before final exams next week.

“I think it’s rude they come here at this time and disrupt my education,” said Danielle Aucoin, a voice major from Massachusetts whose voice lesson was canceled Friday.

A number of students in the crowd scoffed when Jardis said, “I had no idea this would be disruptive.”

Peter Eyre, of Keene, wore a sweatshirt bearing the slogan, “Badges don’t grant extra rights,” and said PSU is public property and those who attend should have the right to bear arms.

Plymouth State President Sara Jayne Steen told students in an email Thursday that they wouldn’t be penalized for not going to class if they feared for their safety.

She said that the court order might not prevent the pair from showing up and that they might have sympathizers who could show up with weapons.

“If you are uncomfortable, please make the best decision for yourself about being on campus,” Steen wrote in the email. Staff and faculty were given the option of taking a vacation day.

Jardis and Mozingo maintain that the university system’s policy banning firearms flies in the face of state law and the state and federal constitutions. They say they look forward to returning to Grafton County Superior Court on Tuesday to argue against a permanent injunction barring them from bringing weapons onto state campuses.

Jardis wouldn’t say whether he was carrying a concealed firearm. Instead, he said several times, “I just want to point out that no one knows if I’m carrying a gun.”

“Yeah, and that’s terrifying,” replied one female student.

English professor Robin DeRosa and a handful of students and staff held signs in support of the campus ban on guns. Several of Jardis and Mozingo’s supporters mocked the group and a sign that said “Thank you for not shooting me.”

Police and college security officers were stationed in and around the campus, but authorities didn’t interact with the two gun advocates.

University spokesman Timothy Kersher said he was pleased the two brought no weapons. Asked how he knew they weren’t concealing a weapon, Kersher said of Jardis, “We’ve taken him at his word all week. I think he’s engaging in dialogue, in discussion. It’s what we do here.”

Jardis, 31, is a former Epping police officer who resigned last year. He had been suspended from the force in 2009 for a year because he publicly advocated for the legalization of marijuana and other illegal drugs. Mozingo, 30, said he served in the Army from 2002 to 2006 and was medically discharged after a parachuting accident during training. He said he is a full-time activist.

Earlier in the week, Jardis began publicizing his and Mozingo’s intention to come to campus to distribute literature with loaded rifles slung over their shoulders on a website he blogs on called After discussions with university officials and lawyers midweek, Jardis blogged that he and Mozingo would affix trigger locks to their guns as show of respect for the dialogue taking place. University officials then obtained the restraining order.

The issue of guns on campuses is stirring debate at the Statehouse as well.

The House votes in January on a bill that would give the Legislature control over regulating weapons. It would prohibit entities like colleges from banning weapons on their campuses. After Republicans took control of the House and Senate last year, lawmakers voted to ease gun regulations, including allowing them in the Statehouse complex.

If the House passes the bill to bar colleges and other entities from prohibiting weapons, the Senate would next consider it.

University system Chancellor Edward MacKay wrote lawmakers urging them to exempt the community and university college campuses. MacKay said introducing weapons of deadly force into a milieu where impetuous behavior can sometimes take place was dangerous and potentially catastrophic.


Associated Press writer Norma Love in Concord, N.H., contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Karen R Mangan

    I throught all school has the ban…there should venom guns at school period

    • Karen R Mangan

      Oops ban guns at school period that what it suppossed to say

      • Lachesis

        Because bans are going to stop a bad guy? Rules only affect law-abiding folks, bad guys don’t care about laws…..that’s why they’re bad guys. So adding a ban will keep you from being able to defend yourself if a rapist or a murderer decides you’re next on the menu.

        Bans do nothing but provide “crime-safe” zones. Because the criminals know, you can’t protect yourself. And if you think the cops are going to be there in the 15 seconds it takes to do the damage, you’re sorely mistaken….look to virginia tech. How long did it take for that guy to kill the cop, them himself?

  • Pat Clark

    Why would you need a gun on a college campus? It is just a tragedy waiting to happen!

    • Lachesis

      Why indeed? Maybe to protect yourself from whackos like those who affected comlumbine, Virginia Tech (twice no less!) and/or any event that the bad guy decides to go after you.

      People, the good guys carrying guns aren’t going to arbitrarily shoot, like the bimbo in the story “yeah, and it’s terrifying” would have you believe. A gun on a cop’s hip is just as scary as a gun on your hip? That’s what training and knowledge is for. To make you understand and smart….kind of like what college is for. But without it, the sheep remain ignorant of what a gun is for. It’s not to go throwing lead at people at random like some of you think and want others to believe. Instead a firearm is to protect yourself, your family, your children, your home, from the real crazies out there. To protect you from the campus shooters, the rapists, muggers and murderers. To make sure YOU are safe from them.

  • blackbear1

    Many rural colleges have a gun lockup/withs rules and regs for hunters.

  • Michael E. Harvey

    Nice timing, guys. Did you really have to do this the day after a shooting at another university?

    • blackbear1

      Us guys (or whoever you are referring to) will try to do better next time. News happens when news happens Michael. I’m sure the shooter at Virginia Tech could have cared less about a gun ban on campus.

    • HuntNfish

      This issue that these two men are raising here has very little to do with actual firearms and everything to do with the rule of law. What PSU is trying to do here is similar to Gov. George Wallace’s ‘Stand in the School House Door’ at UofA in 63. It’s similar in that an entity with absolutely no jurisdiction over a matter is trying to force their views upon everyone without the jurisdiction or legal right to do so. Wallace was trying to keep status quo, while PSU is making a change. The problem is in NH, licensed persons’ rights to carry are granted to them by a combination of federal and state laws. While PSU is a state entity, it is not the legislator and therefore has zero business making laws/rules that trump both state and federal law.

      The way the law works is if the NH university system doesn’t want private citizens that are licensed by both the fed and state govt to carry firearms, they need to make a change in either a federal or state law.

      The fed govt has some broad general firearms laws that each state has to follow, however, each state is allowed to do it’s own thing when it comes to the finer details. MA as well as VA and many other states have laws built into their state firearms regulations that do not allow firearms on college campuses. I don’t know about VA, but in MA the law is written so that anyone licensed to otherwise legally carry a firearm is not allowed to have them in their possession on ANY school grounds whatsoever, even if it’s private or charter school. NH is, dare I say it, a little more liberal, haha, when it comes to the firearms laws of the state, and it is their right to be that way.

  • Brad, PSU alumni

    “Our learning space is no place to promote violence.” Guns are not violent, people are violent. Its up to the individual and local STATE laws to know/enforce who should and shouldn’t carry a firearm. If your of sound mind and know proper gun safety and carrying practices. I for one completely support it. Many people may not feel comfortable around guns and those are the people who should not carry. Those people who are trained and capable of safely owning/carrying I’d like to have around in a situation where something tragically does happen. everyone carries a wallet, car keys and cell phone, but are they ever even noticed if not brought out or mentioned? No. Thats because a responsible gun carrier isnt even known to be one.

  • Kayla

    I’m sure no one was wondering, but I was part of the group singing from around 0:31 til 0:36 and we sang “For What It’s Worth” against having guns on campus. I wish we got a little more of our song in somewhere. We worked hard and it took a ton of guts tog get out there and try to prove our point and share our opinions. I had hoped more people would hear it and really listen to us; that more people would notice.

  • Bill Would Not Allow NH Colleges To Prohibit Guns On Campus « CBS Boston

    […] Two men protested Plymouth State University’s gun ban last month, but did not violate it by bringing guns to campus. […]

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