Guns on Campus

As of the beginning of the month, it’s legal to store firearms inside locked vehicles in the parking lots of universities in Arizona.
Naturally, there’s been a small, but relatively minor, amount of PSH about this whole issue. One of the comments submitted to the Daily Wildcat — the University of Arizona’s daily newspaper — was from Brett Wolgemuth, a systems engineering graduate student who was an undergrad at Virginia Tech on that fateful day in April in 2007.
I’ve commented on a few of his sentences below:

Allowing firearms on campus under any condition is a recipe for disaster.

Oh? Care to cite historical data that would back this claim up? Police carry guns on campus all the time without any problems, and citizens in several other states (such as Utah, among others) have carried concealed firearms on campuses for some time without issues.

It only takes one incident in a parking lot, or near a car for someone to go off.

I don’t disagree. However, this is exceedingly unlikely — there’s a vast number of firearms owners in this country, and only the tiniest number of them just “go off” every year. I’d be far more concerned with someone getting mugged, assaulted, or raped in a campus parking lot.

Yes, I do have faith in my fellow man, but I?m not willing to bet my life on it.

Same here. That’s why I carry nearly everywhere I’m not legally forbidden to do so, but I digress.

The law not only allows people to conceal guns in their cars, but they do not have to have a concealed weapons permit to do it. Correct me if I?m wrong, but that would mean that anyone with a gun could come onto campus and have it concealed in his car.

That is, as best as I understand the law, correct. Considering that one can openly carry firearms just about anywhere in Arizona without any permits or background checks at all and there’s essentially no incidents of misbehavior by such people, I hardly see what the problem is. While concealed weapons permits are available to those wishing to carry discreetly, the law does not require such a permit to transport or store a firearm, even a loaded one, in a vehicle’s storage compartments so long as it’s in a holster or other similar case (so as to prevent accidential discharge).
What’s the problem?

Some of you may say that this would act as a deterrent. You make one critical assumption, you assume that a majority of people have a firearm, have brought it on campus, and are willing to use it in case they need to defend themselves.

I think that Mr. Wolgemuth is somewhat confused: the purpose of allowing the storage of arms in cars is not for self-defense on campus. Nobody is thinking that, in the event of a violent crime, they’ll be able to flee the building, run to the parking lot (almost always located around the perimeter of campus), retrieve their personal firearm, then return to be a Big Damn Hero(tm).
Rather, it’s for people who legally carry their firearms while not on campus — if the university prohibits the storage of arms in private vehicles on campus, that infringes on the rights of people who commute to school and wish to carry while traveling to and from the university.

Also, if you believe that you need to bring a gun on campus to feel safe, why would you go to a school where you don?t feel safe?

Feeling safe has nothing to do with actually being safe, as has been tragically demonstrated in various places in the last few years: Luby’s Cafeteria, Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc. The University of Arizona has even had a similar violent incident in its past. Clearly it’s been demonstrated that violent acts can occur anywhere, regardless of how safe one feels.

There is a reason we have a dedicated police department.

So did Virginia Tech. Fat lot of good it did them.
So does Tucson, but there’s still a substantial number of victims of violent crimes. I bet they “felt safe” prior to being victimized.
The police can’t be everywhere at once, nor can they respond instantly. Indeed, the courts have ruled that the police have no duty to protect someone from harm.

Although this is not a response to gun control, it inevitably comes back to it.

He’s right — gun control doesn’t work. It didn’t work at Columbine, it didn’t work at Virginia Tech, and it didn’t work at the University of Arizona’s nursing school. What makes one think that repealing a useless prohibition on storing firearms in a locked vehicle on campus will have any bearing on increased rates of violent crime?

As much as I believe that people have a right to defend themselves, I hope that people realize what this law means and take steps to rectify this in the future.

Indeed, it means that people who can legally defend themselves off-campus while in transit to and from the university can now legally store their firearms in their locked vehicles while parked on campus. No more, no less.
I’m curious what Mr. Wolgemuth has against such people, and why he wants to “rectify” this legal change when it would strip rights from law-abiding people?
Indeed, Mr. Wolgemuth’s comments make a pretty solid case for allowing people to legally carry concealed on campus — no place, even a “weapon-free zone” like a university campus, can be completely safe from crime. I, like Mr. Wolgemuth, think that the average person is decent and honest, but not everyone is, and I’m not willing to bet my life on it. There’s plenty of violent crime on college campuses, why not allow law-abiding people to have the ability to protect themselves?

2 thoughts on “Guns on Campus”

  1. So many people that are so against law abiding citizens having guns are fearful and ignorant. They are ignorant of the facts and the law. This young man is “stuck” in his “here and now”. He lives on campus, therefore everyone does. He grew up in a safe neighborhood, therefore everyone does. Concealed Carry means that a law abiding citizen want to carry a concealed weapon, and this isn’t limited to guns, in most states. At a cafe in VA Tech, a man beheaded a woman while people ran away and hid, because no one had the means to step in. How long does it take to behead someone? When the reporter was broadcast on youtube I heard a lot of “its a horrible way to die” and “they know what is happening the whole time”. Perhaps a concealed carry person could have stopped that one lady from dying a horrible death. No one will address that issue because it is one person. Last, crimes that happen around campus’ are not reported. If the students are walking off campus and are robbed, it isn’t part of the statistics. If the student is raped in a private appartment complex, it is not in the statistics. Crime on campus statistics are misleading.

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