Texas Governor Rick Perry, who likes to carry around a gun as he jogs, is attempting to push through state legislation that would allow students to carry guns on college campuses. The legislation is getting heat from Perry’s own party as Republican State Senator Jeff Wentworth says he doesn’t “want to see repeated on a Texas college campus what happened at Virginia Tech.”
The logic may sound simple: To stop gun violence, let’s give everyone a gun. The first argument for guns in any setting comes from the debate over the Second Amendment. Many believe they have a constitutional right to hold a gun. But the founders hardly had that in mind. The Second Amendment reads: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Last I checked students are not part of a militia. The only “well-regulated” militia that exists currently in the U.S. is the National Guard; there is no longer a militia made up of regular citizens as there was in 1776. And, students' carrying guns is hardly “necessary to the security of a free State.” A random student holding a gun at the University of Texas does nothing for my freedom here in New York.
The argument that guns act as a deterrent is absurd. As Wentworth mentioned, the killer at Virginia Tech was a “deranged, suicidal madman.” That kind of person will surely not be scared of students with guns, especially considering he planned to kill himself anyway.
Another logical approach would be to ensure “deranged madmen” do not end up with firearms. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) proposed a plan to close loopholes and make it more difficult for drug abusers and addicts to obtain firearms. But fellow PolicyMic columnist Jason Orr calls this an “assault on liberty,” a clear indication that some are more concerned with advancing a pro-gun agenda than they are with promoting safety.
Frankly, if you want to prevent murder on college campuses, shouldn’t your focus be on eliminating guns altogether? It is questionable how many deaths, if any, could have been prevented if the right student just happened to have a gun during the shooting at Virginia Tech. It is indisputable, however, that if no one had a gun that day, no one would have died.
John Woods, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shootings and one of the founders of Students for Gun-Free Schools, points out that even if his girlfriend, who died in the shootings, had a gun, there is little chance she would have killed the shooter. Ensuring that a gun won’t end up in the hands of a murderer is a far safer approach than hoping a student will come to the rescue.
Allowing every student to hold a gun would also make policing nearly impossible. After a shooting at the University of Arizona in 2002, Anthony Daykin, the police chief at the school, said his job would have been nearly impossible if he arrived at the school to find hundreds of students holding, pointing, and possibly shooting guns at one another.
Clearly, allowing more weapons will not increase safety, but significantly decrease it. "There is no scenario where allowing concealed weapons on college campuses will do anything other than create a more dangerous environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors," said Oklahoma Chancellor of Higher Education Glen Johnson in January.
People died at Virginia Tech because someone was able to get their hands on a gun. What makes anyone think, then, that more guns is the answer? Yes, if everyone has a gun, it’s possible less people will die. But if no one has a gun, no one will die.
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