By Ben Langlotz
Criminals love gun-free zones. Unfortunately, they are not alone, because many of those who are unaware of the truth about Campus Carry laws join the criminals in wanting to keep SMU a “victim disarmament zone.” But Campus Carry is easy to support when you know the facts:
First, the law is limited only to those students over the age of 21 who have undergone the extensive training and background checks required to obtain a carry permit. Any campus survey that fails to inform respondents of this will yield distorted results.
Second, these trusted permit holders happen to be the most responsible and law-abiding demographic ever measured, even compared to police officers and perhaps university administrators.
Third, Campus Carry laws have been proven safe on countless campuses across the nation for years – there’s no reason to fear that SMU will be the exception.
Fourth, Campus Carry will have a protective effect on the whole campus, because rapists and robbers will no longer be assured of unarmed victims.
Self-defense is a fundamental civil rights issue, and we don’t tolerate oppression even when it’s popular with a majority. Even if false fears have made carry rights unpopular, we must not deny the most vulnerable in our community the ability to defend themselves. Athletic young men might not make tempting crime targets, but petite, frail or disabled members of our community deserve the right to defend their own lives with the most effective means available.
If SMU chooses to actively deny students the right to effective self-defense, it would become vulnerable to lawsuits for the damages caused by on-campus attacks. Victims could powerfully argue that an attack would not have occurred if the University had not rendered them defenseless. Even victims who are too young to qualify for Campus Carry could argue that the University created a haven for crime that led to an attack.
“Guns on Campus” sounds fearsome only until one learns that only a few mature and responsible students will qualify, and that Campus Carry has proven time and again to improve public safety across the nation.
SMU should not give in to fear and ignorance by banning Campus Carry. Instead, we should uphold the civil rights of a vulnerable minority and let the criminals flee in fear when SMU finally ends its status as a “victim disarmament zone.”
Ben Langlotz is a patent attorney specializing in firearms technology and is the spouse of an SMU student.