By Christine Freeman
Would Hannah Graham be alive today if she had been packing heat when Jesse Matthews attacked her last September near the University of Virginia?
Texas Senator Brian Birdwell would probably think so. His proposed Senate Bill 11, better known as the campus carry legislation, would allow firearms to be carried on all federally funded university campuses. While 19 of the Senate’s 20 Republicans back the bill, voters need to consider the potentially terrifying consequences before following suit.
For all we know, an inconspicuous UT student is toting around a 9mm beside her MacBook and color-coded planner in her backpack, thinking she’s prepared if a menacing stranger attacks her. So why not legalize it?
This campus carry legislation relies on the same premise as concealed carry laws that require citizens to meet certain criteria before obtaining a license. Under current regulations, a closeted crazy can exercise his Second Amendment right, as was in the 2007 case of Seung-Hui Cho, who fatally shot 32 Virginia Tech students and faculty with a Glock 19 handgun he acquired legally.
Campus carry is completely dependent upon thorough screening and proper training, both half-baked efforts in today’s firearm reality. It is also completely dependent on guns not falling into the wrong hands, which isn’t difficult in a close-knit community. Just ask any student who’s ever found himself accidentally wearing his roommates’ socks.
Texas State Sen. Bob Hall told Greenville’s The Herald Banner, “this is not turning the campus into ‘cowboy land.’”
I’m sorry sir, have you ever been to a frat party? Silly, alcohol-induced testosterone battles would quickly escalate to an arms race. A firearms race, that is.
Legal doesn’t mean controlled. Guns are booming on the black market; the National Institute of Justice estimates about 93 percent of guns used in crimes are obtained illegally and sold on the streets. Bottom line, if a criminal wants a gun he or she will get it. But the societal shock value, the fact a guy with a gun sticks out like a sore thumb – that’s protection from his bullets. Campus carry would desensitize us from the seriousness of the weapon, equating it with a keychain pocketknife or pepper spray.
You can’t commit mass murder with pepper spray.