Letter to the editor: An argument against campus carry

By Katie Wolf


It has come to my attention that, sometime in the next week or so, demonstrations may take place on campus advocating for the right to bring firearms to campus. This is patently insane, but let’s consider the issues:

1) It has been alleged (and laws to this effect passed in, of all places, Virginia) that if students, professors and staff were armed, mass shootings such as Virginia Tech could never happen because the would-be terrorist would be mowed down before he could shoot an unacceptably large number of people. Maybe. As it is (and I speak as a survivor of the University of Texas tower sniper shootings of 1966) incidents such as Virginia tech are so statistically unlikely as to be essentially impossible to plan for and an absurd basis for formulating policy. By arming students, one places firearms in the hands of persons who may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol (sorry, but there’s a lot of it going around), who may be furious or in despair over academic, romantic or financial problems, or who may be emotionally unstable as a result of the numerous mental health problems which tend to emerge at about this time of life.  Yes, you may save twenty people at Virginia Tech, but you’ll have untold hundreds of the usual kinds of killings, to say nothing of the vastly increased lethality of students’ suicide attempts.

2) As things now stand, if you see someone on campus with a gun, you know it means trouble and can respond accordingly. If everyone is carrying guns, it will be impossible to recognize the bad guys.

3) The right to keep and bear arms is based on the second amendment to the Constitution. This states: “A well-ordered militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Okay, this clearly means that the authors of this amendment anticipated that, the nation at that time being a rather disorganized, frontier society with few established institutions, a civilian militia would be an important element of the safety of the people.  No doubt there were initially several decades in which this was a valid and important concept.  But now (it being 2010 and not 1850), AND since we are no longer living in the Wild West but instead have established police forces and the most powerful military establishment in the history of the world, our need to be able to arm a “well-ordered (civilian) militia” — the original justification for the Second Amendment — no longer exists. But because we cling to this antiquated and irrelevant notion of gun-ownership-if-it-kills-us-all, we continue to enjoy the highest violent crime rate of any modern country, and now the fools who advocate this style of society want to bring their turkey-shoot mentality to college campuses, where rational problem-solving is supposed to rule. It must not happen. Michigan has lost enough of its clout in the world, but we still have some desirable universities. Allow guns on campus and no responsible parents will send their kids to a Michigan university.

James Franklin, Ph.D.