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The Myth of Concealed Campus Carry
The Texas legislature failed to pass a bill during the last term that legalized concealed carry on state college campuses. A Texas State University liberal named Ravi Venkataraman recently wrote an op-ed in the The University Star opposing any legislation that would allow students to legally defend themselves on campus.
“Concealed carry should be banned from university campuses because it is not an effective shield against mass shooting-type occurrences,” said Venkataraman in the opening statement of his gun control diatribe.
No weapon will ever be “an effective shield against mass shooting-type occurrences.” That’s not what concealed carry (or open carry) is designed to do. While states with concealed carry laws in effect do enjoy lower crime rates, they are meant to provide an immediate response to a potential crime or a crime in progress.
The author mentions several incidents of on-campus shootings. In the Virginia Tech shooting, 32 people were killed by Seung-Hui Cho on a “gun-free” campus. Cho should have been barred from buying any guns because he had been deemed “mentally defective.” However, the state never reported this information to the federal government to be reported in the National National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the system used to determine if citizens are legally allowed to purchase and carry a firearm.
The Virginia Tech shooting also happened on a campus that prohibited the possession of firearms by teachers, faculty, students and visitors other than law enforcement personnel. Because the university took TWO HOURS to even inform the students. The shootings took place over just nine minutes, but it took the police – the only armed presence on campus – six minutes to even respond. There’s a saying that “when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”
The author then mentions the Columbine massacre in Colorado as yet another example of why allowing guns on a college campus is a bad idea. There are several obvious reasons why this is an ignorant example. For one, there isn’t anyone in the country that would agree that arming students is high school is a good idea. Second, shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold purchased their guns illegally from friends. They also scoured the internet for information on how to build the bombs they planted all over the place. Regardless, Columbine was another “gun free” zone, so according to people like Venkataraman, this shooting never would have happened in such a place. Since high school campuses ban guns in the hands of teachers and faculty, not a single person was in the building that could have stopped the two.
The next example used in the University Star article was the recent Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting. Shooter James Eagan Holmes opened fire into a crowded theater on the opening night of The Dark Knight Returns. Armed with several weapons, Holmes killed or injured more than 70 people before police arrived. The theater had a posted ban on weapons, concealed or otherwise. It was another “gun-free” zone that Venkataraman wants for the TSU campus. It took the police more than three minutes to respond and by that time the dead and injured were already littering the theater floor.
The author mentions in his gun control propaganda piece that the University of Colorado at Boulder allows students to carry concealed weapons as long as they have the required permits. Glaringly omitted from the author’s narrative is that there hasn’t been a shooting at this university since this law was passed.
How can it be that there are so many shooting on “gun-free” campuses where there should be no weapons and no shootings at campuses that allow students to legally carry concealed? The logic seems off and the author seems ignorant to that.
Because liberal gun control advocates can’t point to facts to sustain their arguments, they resort to strawman or broad arguments to support their cause like, “Some students in open discussions have expressed paranoia that anyone on a college campus could potentially possess a deadly weapon.” A plane could “potentially” crash into TSU stadium during homecoming, but that doesn’t mean we need to reroute air traffic to prevent it.
Then, there’s this: “A gunfight between a potentially mentally ill gunman and a college student would do more damage to the campus community—physically and mentally—than the intended defensive effort.” Again, there is no evidence to support this theory or “logic.” In fact, the evidence suggests quite a different picture.
There are more guns and gun owners in the U.S. than ever. During the last decade, “gun control” has been significantly reduced. The federal waiting period on handguns ended in 1998, in favor of the NRA-supported national instant check. Congress refused to renew the federal “assault weapon” and “large” magazine ban, allowing it to expire in 2004. Congress and 33 states have prohibited frivolous lawsuits against the firearms industry. Forty-two states have Right-to-Carry, and 48 states prohibit cities from imposing gun laws more restrictive than state law.
From 1991 to 2010, the total violent crime rate declined more than 47% to a 37-year low, and the murder rate declined by 51% to a 47-year low. Both declined more than seven percent more in the first half of 2011.
So, how is it possible that more people own gun than in the entire history of our nation and yet violent crime rates have dropped? These aren’t anecdotal numbers, these are reality. Unfortunately, it’s a reality that Venkataraman wants to ignore. Since President Obama became president nearly four years ago, privately owned firearms have grown by about 15 million. According to the NRA, nearly 45% of households – incorporating over 70 million gunowners – are armed. I’m pretty sure this number would be higher if not for states like Illinios, New York and California, among others.
The right to arms derives from the right of self-defense, and therefore is an individual right. Thomas Jefferson said, “No free man shall be debarred the use of arms.” Patrick Henry said, “The great object is that every man be armed.” Richard Henry Lee said, “To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms.” Thomas Paine said, “[A]rms . . . discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe.”
What does all this mean? It means that Texas should pass a bill that allows college students – which include many retired military and government officials – to defend themselves as an individual rights issue providing students are legally licensed in the state of Texas to do so.