Well, it seems that concealed carry on campus is up on the docket at the state legislature these days, and lawmakers are actually taking it seriously.
Outside of the military, I can’t think of a school anywhere in the world where students are allowed to pack heat. After all, the presence of weapons in a classroom does not exactly foster an atmosphere of learning and achievement. On top of that, suicides, crimes of passion, and accidents all become easier, deadlier, and more likely to occur in the presence of guns. Conservative pundits claim that having lots of guns everywhere will protect us from the bad guys, but I believe that ubiquitous guns only make everyday life more dangerous.
However, at the core of this issue is a hierarchy of rights: property rights versus second amendment rights. Both are guaranteed by the Constitution and the laws of the land, but the former almost always trumps the latter. Property rights are more sacred than second amendment rights, and that’s as it should be. You have every right to own a gun and to carry a gun, but you don’t have a right to carry it into the home, business, etc. of someone who doesn’t want guns there.
This hierarchy of property rights over second amendment rights is obvious and non-controversial. It only becomes muddled because conservatives have a habit of forgetting or ignoring the concept of public property. Public universities, courthouses, city halls, park facilities, and so forth have as much of a right to control their property as individuals and private institutions do. Moreover, these decisions of how to use public property are ultimately accountable to each of us, by virtue of the people we elect.
A public institution banning guns is not acting contrary to the Constitution; it is following it.
Also at play here is the myth of the gun-slinging cowboy who solves problems with the iron on his belt. Attention conservative pundits: a concealed handgun license does not turn you into Jack Bauer. Get over yourselves. The theoretical possibility of stopping a crime in a blaze of glory is no more likely than the theoretical possibility of needlessly increasing the body count of a crime. Exhibit A: the complete Joe Horn 9-11 call.
CHL bearers are trained to use their weapon safely and accurately, but peace officers are trained to handle dangerous situations legally and ethically. It’s true that the CHL bearers I know personally are good people (indeed, I plan on getting a CHL myself some day), but I would still rather have a police officer or sheriff’s deputy watching my back than any number of CHL-certified citizens.
Call your representatives today and tell them that you oppose concealed carry on campus. Here’s the contact info for Lubbock-area representatives:
Senator Robert Duncan
Rep. Carl Isett
Rep. Delwin Jones
Rep. Joe Heflin