Mon 2 Aug, 2010 06:29 pm
Campus gun ban at CU Boulder ignores reality
By Brian T. Schwartz
Imagine this news headline:
"School shooter apologizes — not for killing — but for violating CU campus gun ban."
Not to some members of the University of Colorado Boulder faculty.
A recent motion from the Boulder Faculty Assembly (BFA)
supports a campus gun ban — as if someone intent on killing would
comply with a campus gun ban, let alone regret breaking one.
CU has banned people from carrying guns on campus since 1970.
In April, a Colorado Court of Appeals ruling found that the ban violated
the state's 2003 Concealed Carry Act. Hence, CU must allow those with
concealed-carry licenses to be armed on campus.
Last month the CU Board of Regents voted to appeal the ruling
of the Colorado Supreme Court. This followed a motion in April
by the BFA to maintain a "weapon-free campus."
A "weapon-free" campus invites rapists and murderers to prey on
defenseless victims. The "presence of firearms on the campuses
is bound to increase the risk that they might be used," claims the BFA.
Of course — but a gun ban ensures that only violent criminals have guns,
and that their law-abiding victims cannot use them in self-defense.
Campus gun bans did not stop mass murders at schools such as
Columbine, Northern Illinois University and Virginia Tech. Violent
criminals — and especially school shooters — seek unarmed victims,
as David Kopel documents in his Connecticut Law Review article,
"Pretend 'Gun-free' School Zones: A Deadly Legal Fiction."
The BFA appeals to baseless negative stereotypes against
concealed-carry license holders. Among its reasons for supporting
the gun ban is that "the university is traditionally a place where
disagreements are settled through civil debate or the established
avenues of conflict resolution." The subtext here is that license
holders are Hulk-like hotheads who pull out their guns to settle
conflicts. The BFA presents no evidence for this. There have been
no such incidents at schools, like CSU, that allow concealed-carry.
In Texas, the violent crime rate for license holders is one-fifth
that of Texans without licenses.
Instead of demonizing conceal-carry license holders, the CU Boulder
faculty should recognize them as potential heroes who can save
students' lives, and their own.
In Israel, armed teachers and nurses have deterred attacks on schools.
Students in the U.S. owe their lives to Joel Myrick, Mikael Gross
and Tracey Bridges, who stopped school shootings with guns they
retrieved from their cars.
The BFA wants to limit potential heroes to campus police, but police
cannot always arrive on time. Police arrived within two
minutes of the 2008 shooting at Northern Illinois University, but
five students were already murdered.
Here's a challenge for the CU Regents and Boulder Faculty Assembly.
They're OK with armed campus police, but not armed citizens
with the training and qualifications to have earned a concealed-
carry license. Then why not issue special campus gun licenses to
those who, at their own expense, undergo the same firearms
training as the CU Police?
If this is not acceptable, how about more rigorous training,
or limiting licenses to faculty and staff? If a regent or CU faculty
member opposes this, you should wonder about his actual motives
for opposing concealed carry on campus.
Self-defense is a fundamental human right.
The Colorado Constitution recognizes this.
So should the CU faculty and regents.
If the regents required people to drive without seat belts,
they'd share responsibility for the resulting traffic deaths.
Gun bans deserve equal moral condemnation.
Denying peaceful adults of an effective means of self-defense
empowers murderers, gay bashers, and rapists to prey on defenseless victims.
[All emphasis has been added by David.]
The University can give courses in defensive gunnery tactics.