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A 21-year-old University of Nebraska-Lincoln student faces a felony charge after police arrested him and accused him of having a concealed handgun on campus.

Prosecutors charged Joseph T. Dembowski of Lincoln with possession of a firearm on school grounds Tuesday.

University Police Sgt. Douglas Petersen said a staff member in the Military and Naval Sciences Building March 1 noticed Dembowski had a handgun ammunition magazine out and asked him if he also had a gun.

Dembowski said he had a handgun in his backpack, and the staff member ultimately told university police, Petersen said.

The staff member saw only the gun's magazine, he said.

Dembowski didn't threaten anyone with the firearm, and has cooperated with investigators, Petersen said.

He turned the gun over to police, Petersen said.

Police arrested him Monday and took him to the Lancaster County jail.

Dembowski, who is listed as a senior finance major in the UNL directory, would face up to two years imprisonment if he's convicted.

His arrest is rare, Petersen said.

University police encourage students, faculty and staff who wish to bring their guns to campus to store them in lockers at the department at 16th and R streets.

The lockers are free and used to keep students from storing guns in residence halls, academic buildings or parked cars in violation of university policy and state law, according to the department's website.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.


Riley Johnson reports on breaking news and public safety issues in Lincoln and southeast Nebraska.

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