Replica rifle creates real ruckus at UC Merced

Nonfunctional copy spurs policy review

tmiller@mercedsunstar.comSeptember 8, 2013 

A UC Merced student who carried a replica rifle into the Tenaya Hall dorms caused a stir on campus Monday.

UC Merced spokesman Scott Hernandez-Jason said police received reports about 2:34 p.m. of a man with a rifle on campus.

Police found the man, who turned out to be a student with a rifle used for parades and drills, about 2:50 p.m., Hernandez-Jason said. The rifle does not function.

"It looks very much like a gun, because it's meant to," he said.

Police took the replica rifle to avoid further confusion, Hernandez-Jason said. The student will not face any disciplinary action, he said.

UC Merced does not have a drill team, Hernandez-Jason said, but the student was apparently interested in starting one. There is nothing in the campus code about replica rifles, he said.

"The campus is going to look at its policy in terms of replica-type items," he said. "Obviously, guns aren't allowed on campus. The campus also doesn't allow paintball (guns) or air rifles."

Hernandez-Jason said police dispatch sent out an an email alert about 2:47 p.m. The alert stated that students should avoid Tenaya Hall and seek shelter.

Hernandez-Jason said students reacted the way they should, by alerting police.

"We encourage people to report anything suspicious," he said.

Reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or at tmiller@mercedsunstar.com.

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