Skip to comments.Students should be able to carry guns on campus
Posted on 12/12/2011 4:08:51 AM PST by marktwain
In January, the New Hampshire Legislature is lined up to be the next to confront the hotly debated subject of concealed carry on campus.
Passed by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee in late October, HB 334 reasserts the states sole authority to regulate firearms and prevents the University System of New Hampshire from denying licensed, law-abiding citizens the option of carrying firearms for self-defense on university campuses.
Concealed carry on campus is primarily an issue of whether licensed citizens who responsibly carry a firearm for self-defense everywhere else in their lives should be rendered vulnerable simply because they choose to pursue higher education or are called to educate the next generation of leaders.
Why would students and faculty need to carry firearms for self-defense? The reason is quite simple: Crime happens on college campuses. From assaults and robberies to rapes and murders, college campuses are not immune to crime.
An individual who already intends to commit a crime is not deterred by a sign saying firearms are banned. Why then should university officials deny the option of effective self-defense to law-abiding citizens because they cross a property line onto campus?
Contrary to the misinformation being spread about campus carry, this bill would not put guns into the hands of thousands of new people. The citizens who would have a concealed firearm on campus are the same ones who responsibly carry at the grocery store, movie theater and gas station without incident.
But how do legislators and campus carry advocates know the bill would not result in campus shooting galleries when these individuals are allowed to carry their concealed firearms?
Fortunately, there is significant evidence from more than 200 campuses in six states that now allow campus carry. Since Colorado State University first decriminalized self-defense in 2004, there has yet to be a negative incident on any campus involving a lawfully armed citizen.
For those who say they would feel uncomfortable with the idea of students and faculty being armed around them on campus, do they also feel uncomfortable walking around in public?
The basic premise behind concealed carry is that people around you are not aware you are armed. As policy stands, the only people who can and do bring weapons on campus are those who do it illegally, and they are the ones other students and faculty should be concerned about.
Additionally, criminals fear armed citizens, even more than they fear the police. A large part of deterrence stems from the fact that criminals do not know which victims would put up armed resistance, and that risk can cause second thoughts with some individuals.
Gun-free zones should be more aptly named defense-free zones, because 19 major shootings in the last 10 years, including another just this week at Virginia Tech, stand as evidence that campus gun bans are ineffective at keeping students and faculty safe.
Campus carry proponents cannot guarantee that allowing concealed weapons would have affected the outcomes of these shootings, but as policy stands the only outcome guaranteed not to occur is a lawfully armed citizen saving lives.
Finally, when it comes to budget issues, curriculum and educating students, university officials rightfully have the final say.
But when deciding whether someone should be able to possess the tools to effectively defend themselves, the Legislature is responsible to represent the rights of citizens.
The state of New Hampshire already holds sole authority to regulate firearms. This pre-empts further restrictions by all other political bodies in the state, including the University System. So, this bill simply serves to emphasize and correct the blatant disregard of state law by the university system.
In this upcoming session, legislators should consider this bill in the light of facts and reason that justify allowing licensed, law-abiding citizens the option of effective self-defense.
Permitting state universities to continue to disregard the law and deny this option to students and faculty based on fear-driven myths and misconceptions is a serious mistake that New Hampshire cannot afford to make.
Zachary Zalneraitis, originally from Worcester, Mass., is a civil engineering senior at the University of Florida. He is an editorial writer for the group Students for Concealed Carry.
The liberal argument comes down to the idea that a high-school dropout living in a trailer park is more responsible than his former classmate who went on to college.
Taking a look at the University system, they might have a point.
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