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Student banned from campus for a year after weapons charge speaks out

Ryan Beauchamp used to be a student on Florida Atlantic University’s Boca Raton campus. He used to live in the University Village Apartments and he used spend time at the gun range with his friends.

But he doesn’t anymore.

That’s because Beauchamp, a junior, was arrested on March 10 for having a gun on campus.

Beauchamp was working at his job as a valet off of Sunrise Boulevard in Broward County that day when he received a call from the FAU Police Department. An officer asked him to come back to campus.

“I wanted to comply completely with the police, so I went back immediately,” Beauchamp said.

The police became suspicious that Beauchamp had a gun on campus when a mailroom attendant alerted them to a package for him that came to the University Village Apartments’ mailroom. The package was a box that had the words “9 mm ammo” stamped on the side.

Once Beauchamp got back to campus, he gave police permission to search his student apartment in building 59A, and told the officers where he kept his handgun.

“I told them it was hidden in a box of cleaning supplies I had,” the electrical engineering major said.

According to FAU Deputy Police Chief Keith Totten, Beauchamp was arrested on a felony weapons violation charge. He was charged under Florida Statute 790.115, which prohibits “possessing or discharging weapons or firearms at a school-sponsored event or on school property.”

Beauchamp appeared in court the next day. He says the judge was lenient on him and released him without bail.

“The judge saw that I’m a good person and that I just made a mistake,” he said.

But Beauchamp thinks the news media portrayed his ordeal in a negative light, and had incorrect information. The Sun Sentinel reported that he doesn’t have a concealed weapons permit, and WPTV-Ch. 5 used a screen shot of a video taken in court where he looks “mean.”

“I do have a concealed weapons permit. It’s just not with me in Florida,” he said. The permit is still in his hometown in New Hampshire.

Beauchamp said he wants his side of story to be heard. He said he often goes to the gun range with friends, and he planned to replace a buddy’s ammunition that he had used there.

Tim Nee, a senior who lives in building 59B of the University Village Apartments, had only positive things to say about Beauchamp.

“He’s a good guy that got caught up in a bad situation,” said Nee, a senior and finance major who sometimes accompanies Beauchamp to the range.

Beauchamp especially wants the police and his peers to know that he wasn’t planning to harm anyone.

“Ammunition is expensive and hard to find, so when you find it, you stock up,” he said.

After his arrest, Beauchamp was banned from FAU until spring 2011.

“I don’t think Ryan meant any harm. After all, if he had lived 100 feet off campus and done the same thing, it would have been completely legal,” Nee said. “I think [his ban from campus] is unreasonable and reflects the personal biases of campus administrators.”

Police were not allowed to comment on the case because it’s ongoing.

However, Terry Mena, associate dean of students, said that “FAU has a zero tolerance for firearms on campus. We take these matters very seriously and will handle this type of case in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.”



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