The University of Montana is NOT a gun-free zone, however, only law enforcement personnel are allowed to carry weapons on campus.

A recent Associated Press report states that only about two-thirds of public and private campuses across the country used armed officers during the 2011-2012 school year. Experts say campus administrators are increasingly being pressed for assurances that officers are well-equipped and well-trained following high profile crimes like the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings.

UM Police Chief Marty Ludemann explained the policy of arming his department.

"The University of Montana Police department is a state-accredited police department, just like the Missoula Police Department, the Sheriff's Office and any police department in the state of Montana," Ludemann said. "We go to the same academy, we receive the same training, the same responsibilities, and are held to the same standards as any police department in the state."

Ludemann said his officers are similarly equipped, as well.

"We're armed," he said. "We have Tazers, we have sidearms, we have long rifles in our cars, just like a normal police department would have," he said.

That being said, Ludemann said no one else is allowed to carry a weapon on campus, even if they have a valid concealed-carry permit.

"We do allow people to bring weapons on campus, but they must be checked in here at the police department where we store them," Ludemann said. "If you want to check one out to go hunting or something, then we check the gun back out to you. They are not allowed on campus in residential housing, so we basically just store them for the students."

Ludemann said very few exceptions are allowed.

"The campus rules and regulations are that the president of the university and myself are the only ones who can allow a gun or handgun on campus other than law enforcement," he said. "It is the university policy that handguns are not allowed on campus other than for law enforcement."

The Associated Press report stated that more and more private colleges are looking to arm their police forces.

(The photo of Chief Ludemann in the YouTube video is courtesy of Tommy Martino of the Montana Kaimin newspaper)

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