A Modest Proposal for Guns on Campus

By: Daniel Greenberg

Issue date: 4/22/09

Section: Opinions

There are two things in this world that simply stun and amaze me. One of them is the seedless grape. The other is the desire some people have to allow weaponry on a college campus. This latter notion has recently been taking hold in Texas, where a bill is advancing through the state legislature that would allow firearms on the University of Texas campus in Austin. Some who oppose the bill compare the situation of guns on campus to throwing a gasoline drum into a fire, but it’s worse than that. Especially in areas such as Texas and Arizona that are still recovering from the horrors of the Wild West, allowing students to carry concealed weapons is comparable to avoiding nuclear radiation by poking Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the eye and then running to Israel – in other words, it is completely counterproductive. Think about it. It is a known fact that more weapons results in more crime. Sure, legally-owned firearms are predominantly used for deterrence if not fired in legitimate self defense, but that’s just a red herring. Another common defense of armed-campus activists is that rounds can be fired for a moral purpose. Yet, especially in light of Holocaust Remembrance Day this Tuesday, we must remember that if faced with evil, the rightful action is to do nothing. Even the top university authorities oppose guns on campus. Sure, almost all of them are left-wing ideologues, but you can count on them to be logical and unprejudiced when it comes to something as sensible as keeping law-abiding citizens disarmed. Oh, and the idea that mass murderers don’t care about puny firearm regulations is just stupid; the Weapon-Free Zone truly does keep out armed criminals. I haven’t tested it – and murderers are peculiarly attracted to shooting defenseless people in gun-free areas – but I’m fairly certain there’s something that prevents weapons from going on campus. Similarly irrational is the mental construct that murderers, and not honest citizens, are the real threat. It doesn’t matter that there’s no evidence indicating that banning weapons lowers crime. The real threat is guns, because they make loud noises and are scary. I would support my opinion with ABC’s “20/20” last week, which proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that students are incapable of defending themselves with guns. Yes, theoretically, a trained person with a gun could easily shoot a distracted assailant, but we have campus security for that. The security and police are likely to come late in a violent situation, but we pay them a lot of money; it would be a waste to not dump all the responsibility on them, even though if anything goes wrong UA officials will be the first to deny liability. Taking responsibility for one’s own life by claiming to be able to protect oneself with an effective defense tool is no way to cut education costs. But I digress. This is more than just pragmatism. This is a question of law. Article 2, Section 6 of the Arizona State Constitution states, “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the state shall not be impaired,” and the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that, “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” As a public institution, would the UA not be similarly obliged to honor the right to bear arms? Wait … OK, ignore the law part. This is more of an issue of principle. In all fairness, there may be some “right to bear arms,” but that right is surely eclipsed by my right to not have to be afraid of guns. Ultimately, in our society, after two decades of killing cyberdemons in Doom, our fellow students simply cannot be trusted. Allowing guns on campus would be a terribly dreadful idea. The streets of Tucson would be flooded with blood, making drainage even more of an issue during monsoon season. Rather than allowing effective self-defense on campus, our imperative is to close the Weapon-Free Zone loophole that ironically bans firearms but not the actual bullets. That’s right: technically, someone outside campus could fire at someone on campus and it would be totally okay with UA weapon policy. My solution (since just about every person against concealed carry on campus is against concealed carry everywhere) is to just ban guns. It may not actually work, per se, but it’ll make me feel better and I hope you’ll feel better too. – Daniel Greenberg is a political science junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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