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NIU Student Faces Weapons Charges After Guns, Body Armor Found In Dorm Room

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DEKALB, Ill. (CBS) —A 29-year-old Northern Illinois University freshman, from Tinley Park, is free on bond after police seized a rifle, a high-powered handgun and body armor from his dorm room.

NIU Police Chief Thomas Phillips said that a worker sorting mail at NIU’s New Hall West called police when she found a package containing gun parts from the arms dealer Primary Arms and addressed to suspect Kevin Ouwenga.

Phillips said when police went to the dorm room, Ouwenga let them in and they found a disassembled AR-15 rifle, a .40-caliber Glock handgun, ammunition for both weapons and body armor. All were seized by police, who arrested Ouwenga.

Phillips told WBBM Ouwenga is a combat veteran recently discharged from the Army, is used to keeping his guns by his side as they were found in the dorm, and claimed he was unaware of the long-standing ban, which covers every school campus in Illinois and was restated in the new conceal-carry law.

He said it makes no sense that Ouwenga would be unaware of the ban, or NIU’s particular sensitivity to guns on campus because of the Valentine’s Day 2008 Cole Hall shootings. Regardless, he said, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Ouwenga has a valid firearm owner’s identification card.

He faces charges of unlawful use of a stored weapon and unlawful use of a weapon. The first charge is the more serious and could carry a five-year prison term is he is convicted.

Bond was set at $40,000, and he returns to court Dec. 17.

For now, Phillips said, Ouwenga is barred from campus. In addition to the criminal charges, he faces discipline under NIU’s internal judicial review process.

Phillips said, given the circumstances and Ouwenga’s full cooperation, there was never any emergency declared on campus, no did police order any evacuations.

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