Friday, April 25, 2008

Students for Conealed Carry: College Commentary

We've talked before about the difficult question of whether to allow concealed carry of firearms on college campus.

Some people say:

Yup, this group wants to legalize the carrying of concealed handguns on campus. My campus. This is a very, very bad idea.

Most of the kids I know forget more than occasionally to do their readings for class. How can these same kids be trusted to remember to engage the safeties on their handgun? I don’t want to bump into the guy next to me in class and get shot in the foot.

Most of the kids I know don’t lock their room every time they step out to get their laundry, nor do they lock up their valuables. What’s to stop the curious neighbor from toying playfully with their friend’s handgun?

And during the late night weekend hours when thousands of drunk 18 to 20-somethings stumble about State Street, who is going to stay home and guard the firearms? Designate that.


And don’t tell me that only responsible people with clean records will get a hold of these guns, because the Virginia Tech shooter purchased his Glock legally. Consider yourselves trumped, SCCC. Euchre!

I don’t deny that there is a place for guns in our society, but that place is not the college campus. If campus law enforcement’s ability to control alcohol and marijuana is any indication, college campuses are not safe places for lethal weapons.

I don't blame this college student for being concerned about firearms carry by students who may be 'away from home for the first time'. That's a lot of responsibility for post-adolescents who haven't yet learned to control their own hormones, and who think that a keg party is the height of social interaction.

The folks who commented on this article are even more outspoken, but they are decidedly on-subject. For example, Brian says:
Guns are bad. Guns kill. Whenever there are guns, even if the intent is to protect oneself, statistics show that bad stuff happens waaay more often when there are guns than when there are no guns.
Uh ... excuse me?

Brian doesn't seem to be aware of the nuances (I'm told that a "nuanced position" is very important to the Progressive Community) of Concealed Carry.

It's easy to dismiss the concerns voiced by such people as Brian. But that would be wrong.

Brian may be misinformed, but that doesn't mean that his concerns are without merit.

What? Are the people who would be allowed to carry firearms typical of the beer-swilling, pot-smoking 'average student' which are presumed to be candidates for legal carry of a concealed weapon?

Well, no.

The Oregon State Barometer today published an editorial which actually recognizes that such an important question deserves more than a hip-shot objection to Concealed Carry on Campus. You should read the whole article, but the conclusion reads like this:

Those who go through the process of applying for a concealed carry permit have earned the right to conceal a weapon on their person, according to our laws.

Socially, we may not want those around us to carry a weapon, but in terms of constitutional freedoms, the rights granted by our law should not be shrugged off at the schoolhouse gate, to quote a famous court ruling.

While we hope that a gun never needs to be used on our campus against any person, we believe our rights and freedoms should never be taken lightly.
I encourage you to read the article, because the editor who wrote it must have learned something in his (her?) sojourn at an institutional of higher learning. He (she?) actually looks at 'the other side' of the question and recognizes that the process of qualifying for a "Carry Concealed Handgun" license in Oregon (at least in Benton County) involves/ includes a much more stringent 'vetting' process than is presumed by Brian.

We cannot ignore the concern that irresponsible students, under the influence of alcohol, drugs or just the stress of academic life may be unable to handle the added responsibility of carrying a firearme on campus. After all, this is the concern voiced by their fellow students.

But we must also factor into this, the fact that (in a state which legally allows CCH persons to carry a weapon on campus, and the only restriction is the the University provides such penalties as loss of scholarship or registration for students, and loss of employment for faculty and staff) concealed carry may be legal according to the State but it is administratively denied by the Institution.

There are persons on these campuses, not subject to the vagaries of influences evinced by youth, inexperience and hormones which are so frequently presented by detractors of the CCH option.

Staff and Faculty are often more mature, more experienced, and better trained than the callous youth who are most often cited as a reason why CCH should not be permitted.

University Administrative Regulations do not typically factor these people into their decision making process.

And that's a mistake which will, inevitably, lead to the "Universities Tried, Students Died" scenario which is best demonstrated by the Virginia Tech Massacre ... a tragedy which could have been avoided.

As could the next such tragedy.

No comments: