The University of Arizona chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus has been participating in nationwide empty holster protest.
Today, we got mentioned in the Arizona Daily Wildcat, the university newspaper. They interviewed the campus leader for SCCC:
Photo credit: Andrew Russell, UA Daily Wildcat
This week, the organization is holding an “empty holster” protest nationwide, where students wear empty holsters to campus to raise awareness of gun laws, and for students and faculty to be able to protest the defenselessness they may feel by not being able to carry on campus, [the UA campus leader for SCCC] said.
“The empty holster is symbolic for current policies tying our hands behind our backs,” [the UA campus leader for SCCC] said. “With students that carry everywhere else, why should the campus be any different?”
About 20 students are participating in the empty holster protest, which hasn’t garnered much attention from students, [the UA campus leader for SCCC] said.
“Surprisingly, no students have asked me about it,” he said. “Most people look at it and don’t even do a double take.”
I’ve noticed that very thing — when wearing my holster on campus, nobody seems to notice.
When open carrying a firearm off-campus, nobody seems not notice either. No double takes, no panic, no nothing. I’ve had one or two people glance at the gun and go about their business, but most people simply don’t even notice it…and I’m not even trying to conceal it.
Somehow, I think that if SB 1214 were to have passed and people could carry concealed on campus, nobody would notice.
Other good news:
Even though [University President] Shelton may disagree with [the UA campus leader for SCCC], [he] said Shelton was the only campus administrator that took the time to thoroughly listen to his concerns.
President Shelton has publicly spoken against allowing permit holders to carry on campus, so it’s good that he’s listened thoroughly and has the potential to change his mind.
And students don’t want to carry weapons on campus just to protect themselves from school shootings, but other crimes like a mugging or a personal assault, [the UA campus leader for SCCC] said.
“There are many situations where you can’t just submit to the criminal and just be OK,” he said. “You have to fight and to fight effectively in self-defense.”
Ah, that’s a key issue that I keep bringing up in conversations with friends. Virginia Tech-like school shootings are exceedingly rare (but extremely hyped up by the media), and very few people I know carry (or want to carry) to protect against this rare event (though they’d be prepared to do so, if needed).
Rather, they want to protect themselves against more common crime like assault, rape, and so on — just like they’re able to do off-campus. “Ordinary” crime is not uncommon on campus (or off campus, for that matter).
[T]he empty holster protest, which will go through the end of this week, is a powerful image to convey to the campus community, [NRA Board Member and Tucson resident Todd] Rathner said.
“It’s a really good way to convey the student sense of defenselessness.”
And that’s the point we’re trying to make: the law and university policy doesn’t protect anyone; how could it, when it disarms law-abiding “good guys” who simply want to protect themselves?
Permit holders have been carrying for years in just about every public place in Arizona (and most other states) without incident. Why would a college campus be any different?
Kudos to Dustin for reporting this before I did, even though I knew about the upcoming publication before he did. That’s what I get for sleeping in.
Update (9/7/2010): The UA campus leader for SCCC contacted me today to ask that I redact his name from this post. I’m happy to do so.