Dumb Question of the Day
Should College Students Be Allowed to Carry Concealed Weapons?
Only in America would a question that asinine, that insane, be asked with a straight face, on the front page of a major national newspaper, as it was by the Christian Science Monitor. Don’t blame the paper, quite. The question is being forced by the reactionary press and its blogosphere henchacks, who have been badgering Virginia lawmakers for forbidding students to carry weapons. From the CSM:
Virginia Tech, like most universities around the country, forbids students from having guns on campus. But as an increasing number of states have passed laws that allow people to carry concealed weapons, gun advocates from Virginia to Utah have also challenged the academic policies that prohibit weapons at colleges and universities. Their argument is that guns can save lives. If the students at Virginia Tech were armed, they contend, they might have been able to stop the rampage before more than 30 of their classmates were killed. "The only way you stop people like that is with like force," says Todd Gilbert, a Republican delegate in Virginia's General Assembly. "This guy, when he went on campus, certainly must have known he was entering a gun-free zone." But opponents of guns on campus argue that their presence would dramatically increase violence in a variety of ways – from accidental discharges to fights being settled with bullets instead of fists. On their side are most university presidents and many law-enforcement officials, as well as academic research. […] "You can never protect against this kind of incident," said Dana Schrad, executive director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, in a telephone interview. "I have my own concerns that, had there been a number of people who had been in that classroom with guns, [there could have been] additional persons killed just as a result of poor judgment calls." But such arguments do not convince gun advocates. Mr. Gilbert, the General Assembly delegate, started fighting to allow guns on campus after an incident in 2005 involving another Virginia Tech student. The individual, who had a valid permit, was discovered carrying a concealed handgun on campus. He was told that, according to university policy, he could not carry it. If he did, he risked expulsion. Gilbert then introduced a bill in the General Assembly in 2006. It would have allowed students or employees with concealed-handgun permits to carry those guns on state university campuses without risk of being expelled or fired. (A Virginia resident must be at least 21 years old to receive such a permit, and guns would still not have been allowed inside dorms or at sporting events.) Gilbert introduced the bill at the urging of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), a gun-rights organization with 6,000 members. […] In Utah, a similar proposal became law, and it was upheld by the Utah Supreme Court last year despite fierce opposition from officials at the University of Utah. As a result, students 21 or older who have permits can now carry guns on campus and into classrooms. But a new law passed this year allows students to request roommates who do not carry guns. The full story…