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Shooting resurrects gun issues

Tuesday’s events at the University of Texas-Austin campus are certain to rekindle a longstanding public debate about the right to carry firearms on public university and college campuses.
The fact that a 19-year-old student brought a high-caliber rifle on to campus, firing indiscriminately and killing none other than himself, doesn’t particularly change the debate or give either side an advantage. What ended up saving the innocent bystanders and keeping people out of harm’s way was as much the gunman’s seeming desire not to kill anyone and the campus’ notification and alert systems. Those systems warned students, faculty and others to remain away as soon as the news hit the street that a gunman was on the scene.

Still, the public scrutiny of the laws banning everyday people from carrying guns on campus will no doubt be tighter in the days to come. There are strong arguments on both sides of the issue.

We certainly understand the perspective that the laws that apply on the street to an everyday citizen should not be significantly altered because they’ve stepped foot onto a college campus. In that sense, the no-gun designation infringes on an inalienable right written into the Constitution of our nation only after the right to free speech. Our founding fathers considered it that important.

On the other hand, bringing weapons into an environment that is considered peaceful and geared toward the advancement of learning and the mind adds a layer of concern. Other school shootings in this decade could possibly have been averted or contained had a trained student carrying a handgun been at the scene.

They could have also been exacerbated when emotions were running high and judgment is clouded.

For now, the law is the law. Changing that will require examination, much as some of our neighboring states have undertaken in recent sessions of their respective Legislatures. Regardless, it’s a healthy debate that we should likely consider again, whatever the outcome.

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Posted by on Sep 29 2010. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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