Concealed-carry law doesn't extend to medical center property

A bill passed in the Legislature earlier this year means that beginning Jan. 1, 2007, Nebraskans in many cities, including Omaha, can carry concealed weapons.

That said, guns and other deadly weapons are not allowed on the grounds of UNMC, UNMC Physicians or The Nebraska Medical Center.

"The law allows you as an employer to allow or disallow weapons on your premises as you see fit," UNMC Human Resources Director John Russell said. "Just because the Legislature passed the law, it doesn't change the posture at UNMC, which is that weapons are not allowed."

The Nebraska Medical Center and UNMC Physicians will have the same weapons policy as UNMC.

The policy defines a deadly weapon as "any firearm, knife, bludgeon, or other device, instrument, material, substance, whether animate or inanimate, which, in the manner it is used or is intended to be used, is capable of producing death or serious bodily injury."

"We are committed to the safety of our employees, patients and their friends and family," said Troy Wilhelm, chief financial officer for UNMC Physicians. "Weapons have no place in our organization and facilities. This joint policy allows us to address the new weapons law with consistency."

The policy applies to all property of UNMC, UNMC Physicians and The Nebraska Medical Center, including vehicles. Law enforcement officers are exempt from the policy.

Signs communicating the policy will be posted on UNMC, UNMC physicians and The Nebraska Medical Center property soon, Russell said.

"People here are committed to preserving and improving lives," Russell said. "Carrying deadly weapons runs contrary to that attitude and is not a practice that is conducive to such an environment."

Russell's sentiments were echoed by David Poppert, risk and property manager for The Nebraska Medical Center.

"There has been a long-standing prohibition against carrying weapons, concealed or otherwise, on this campus," Poppert said. "We are simply reaffirming our commitment to this policy in light of recent legislative action."