Olympic organizers say no lockers for gun-toters

Wednesday, December 26th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Gun-rights activists who grudgingly agreed to the banning of firearms at Olympic venues are angered to learn the sites will not have weapons storage lockers.

Ever since the activists struck a deal with legislators to allow the ban, they have expected lockers for Utah's 41,800 concealed-weapons permit holders.

But government security officials and the Salt Lake Organizing Committee were cool to the idea.

``They have not been very friendly to us at all,'' said Winton Clark Aposhian, leader of a concealed-weapons instructors group that planned to pay for and staff the secure storage.

He called the final regulations ``unfair and inconsistent,'' and said they went far beyond what advocates expected when they struck the deal.

Weapons were outlawed from the 10 competition sites, nine blocks of downtown Salt Lake City in the secure Olympic Square area and at other Olympic sites as part of a 1999 deal between lawmakers and gun-rights groups.

SLOC spokeswoman Nancy Volmer confirmed that Olympic spectators, participants and volunteers are being told to leave behind their concealed weapons, perhaps at home or in their cars.

``We are not having lockboxes,'' she said.

Volunteers have been informed of the no-guns policy through their SLOC handbooks. Ticket holders will find weapons listed under ``prohibited items'' in the spectator guide, which notes that the prohibition also covers ``one licensed to carry a concealed firearm.''

``We are giving people plenty of advance notice so they will plan accordingly,'' said Tammy Palmer, spokeswoman for the Olympics Public Safety Command.