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Guns not needed on campus

As a former boss of mine said several years ago in print while Louisiana deliberated legislation to allow concealed carry on college campuses: Let’s holster the handguns.
I own a gun. I did when I was in college. I didn’t carry it on campus. Didn’t need to, and I knew it.

While there is no shortage of pundits, campus gun rights activists, legislators and experts who are willing to say a restriction over gun rights on college campuses is a flagrant Constitutional violation that can’t be overlooked, the argument is half-baked.

It’s “big government intervention in our lives.”

It’s a “restriction of freedom.”

It’s a common sense step to ensure the safety of thousands of lives in sometimes amazingly close quarters.

The issue is coming — yet again in Texas — during a legislative session that would do heaps of good if it focused solely on the state’s budget and less on ancillary issues.

It’s a diversion from more important issues that affect people’s lives in a much more tangible way than the threat of gun violence on a college campus.

There’s an argument for passing the bill that has a sense of rightness about it. It’s an argument coming out of a number of mouths these days: “It’s about ensuring that Texans aren’t forced to choose between getting an education and being able to protect themselves.”

When you look at it, as far as case studies in playing on the fears and pride of the populace simultaneously go, that’s a masterstroke.

There’s nothing quite like painting the daily commute to campus or the walk from the residence hall to class as an epic battle replete with thugs and miscreants pulling guns on the student body.

That’ll definitely get those who think government is out to take our guns riled up.

An amazing diversionary tactic, when you think about it, because real change is necessary at the state level elsewhere to keep us from suffering harsh realities around school funding and a host of other issues like transportation, our prison system and health care costs, just to name a few.

Instead (again borrowing liberally from my former boss), we’re discussing deputizing the student body.

There is a group of trained professionals whose job it is to enforce order and respond to emergencies. They are the only ones who should carry weapons on college campuses, and they are the police. Campus, municipal, county, state and federal agents of the law, only, should have weapons on campuses.

Consider yourself in the shoes of a campus police officer rushing to the scene of a shooting in an academic building.

News has already broken around campus. Barricades are being deployed to control traffic flow. Armed units are responding.

Walking into a classroom with multiple subjects holding firearms is not the ideal way this terrible situation could unfold, by any stretch. What happens when an officer reaches the scene to find five or 10 students holding pistols?

Students should be there as eyes and ears for the professionals. Arguments that a student trained with a CHL can adequately defend himself against an armed crazy shooting up a college campus may sound good, but nothing prepares a 21-year-old for the realities of a shootout except being in one.

The last thing we want is for the vital few seconds a police officer might have available to diffuse a deadly situation to be spent figuring out who the bad guy is.

Feel free to disagree. But realize that if guns are allowed on campus, even in concealment, we’re taking a step toward giving youth an awful responsibility that could too easily go awry.

Nick is a gun owner and proponent of campus gun laws. He can be reached at nick@ennisdaily news.com.

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Posted by on Jan 26 2011. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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