Montana State University will offer a centralized gun storage locker for students this fall. The new locker replaces locked gun storage units in student residence halls.
MSU Spokesperson Michael Becker tells YPR the change was planned before Thursday's campus shelter-in-place in response to a man allegedly threatening violence against himself and others.
"In previous years firearms storage was accomplished inside locked facilities in our residence halls. But we are centralizing that now to one location at our university police office," he says.
Becker says centralized gun lockers are becoming a standard practice.
"It reduces the number of different places on campus where firearms could be stored and it allows easier check-in and check-out for the gun owners because they’re not having to work with staff of a residence hall. Instead, they’re working with people who are already on call 24 hours a day -- the police," Becker says.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported in 2017 that MSU’s plans to switch to a central lockup were part of the university’s efforts to prevent student suicides.
The University of Montana switched from residence hall lockers to the University Police gunroom in 2012 after a student accidentally shot and wounded another student on a campus parking lot the year prior.
Firearms are generally prohibited on public university campuses in Montana. In 2015 the Montana Senate passed a bill to allow firearms to be carried on campuses, but it failed in the state House.