Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Arms and the college student . . .

Once again, I was all set to blog about some entirely different subject before I read my e-mail. Always risky. . .
Sure enough, there was a note from Liz Nutt who runs the website matchacollege.com (which mainly gives information about online college education, about which I know nothing). Ms. Nutt sent me a link to a post she'd done on "10 Colleges That Allow Guns on Campus," and wrote, "Considering this overlap in subject matter with your blog; I thought perhaps you would be interested in sharing the article with your readers?" 
States where guns are allowed on some college campuses armedcampuses.org
Which is exactly what I'm doing by posting it below. To me, Liz's list, (although incomplete as 25 colleges allow guns on campus according to armedcampuses.org), provides enough information for a reality check: Guns are allowed on campus in this country; it is possible to go to class and sit next to someone who's packing. 
And there's nothing like a good reality check to make us face some really hard questions. Here, my friends, is Liz's list:

10 Colleges That Allow Guns on Campuss

Unfortunately, shootings at high schools and on college campuses punctuate recent American history. But while some students and teachers feel vulnerable if they’re unarmed and unable to strike back should another tragedy occur, others believe that the more guns that are on campus, the higher the risk for accidents and shootings. The debate is going strong in state legislatures, on Facebook, and at school, and if you’re a prospective college student, you should know the existing gun laws at the schools you want to attend. Besides the schools listed below, even more colleges do allow guns — these are some of the biggest, well-known schools and ones that represent different states and regions.
  1. Colorado State University: Colorado schools have the option to allow or prohibit guns on campus, and the large CSU in Fort Collins has granted students permission to carry guns since 2003.
  2. Dixie State College of Utah: This four-year university in St. George, Utah, allows of-age concealed handgun permit holders — they must be 21 — to carry guns on campus.
  3. University of Utah: Located in Salt Lake City, the U of U has a total enrollment of over 29,000, and approved permit holders can carry concealed guns on campus.
  4. Utah State University: Another large state school, Utah State is the number one public university in the West — and one that allows students to carry guns.
  5. Weber State University: Located in Ogden, UT, Weber State is an attractive choice for nontraditional and traditional students alike, but students can carry guns on its 500-acre Ogden campus.
  6. Michigan State University: As more states debate allowing guns on campus, Michigan’s largest state school — one of the largest universities in the country — does allow guns on campus. The ruling isn’t statewide yet, though.
  7. Southern Utah University: Cedar City’s SUU offers technical through graduate programs, allowing approved students to carry guns.
  8. Blue Ridge Community College: Virginia’s Blue Ridge Community College, a Shenandoah Valley-area school, is a rare East Coast school that allows students to have guns. [more on this later from Martha]
  9. Utah Valley University: Utah Valley is the second largest institution in the Utah System of Higher Education, and it, too, allows guns on campus.
  10. Community College of Denver: Denver’s community college has also chosen to allow guns on campus. The school actually has four campuses scattered throughout the city.
Liz's list represents , if you will, the piecemeal approach to allowing guns on campus. Texas, however, is poised to pass a bill that would allow guns on the campuses of all state schools. Utah already has such a measure -- as you might surmise from the number  of Utah state schools on Liz Nutt's list.

Virginia law already prohibits students or visitors from carrying guns onto the grounds of public and private K-12 schools. The state also prohibits concealed weapons in courthouses, places of worship during a service, jails and on any private property where the owner has posted a "no guns" notice. State employees are barred from possessing guns while at work unless needed for their job. 
But Virginia code is silent on guns and public colleges. And two bills seeking to give college governing boards the authority to regulate firearms on campus died in committee during this year's General Assembly session.
About guns and Blue Ridge Community College (that lone eastern college on Liz's list). Guns are there because of David Briggman, who lives in Keezletown (Rockingham County), Virginia. Mr. Briggman appears to take arming Virginia's college students as his personal mission.
David Briggman
Briggman, who is a former police officer, said he forced Blue Ridge Community College to allow him to carry a gun onto campus while a student. And he sued James Madison University over its ban on concealed weapons even among permit holders. While JMU's policy still stands, Briggman said he has been told by campus police officials that they will not arrest visitors who carry a gun legally. 
"It's extremely easy to challenge university policy by looking at ... whether they are given the statutory authority to regulate firearms on campus, and of course, they're not," Briggman said. ...
Virginia Tech survivor Collin Goddard, who was shot 4 times on April 16, 2007, appears to have a different mission: Keeping guns out of college. Goddard testified before the General Assembly against allowing students to carry on campus, a message he willingly carries across the country.

Collin Goddard's argument: "The fear is in the wrong place, the fear needs to be at the point of sale when people are getting these guns, because we do a horrible job of keeping them from dangerous people."

Colin Goddard 21, lays in his hospital room at Carilion New River Valley Medical Center in Christiansburg, VA, a few miles from Virginia Tech.  Sean Dougherty, USA TODAY 
So now, with the reality check duly absorbed, it's on to the hard questions:
  1. What to do about guns in this country? What does our Constitution allow us to do? Nothing? Something? If so, what? 
  2. Are college campuses different legal animals when it comes to gun control? 
  3. If arming students on campus is about personal safety, does this mean the campus police are incompetent? 
  4. Whenever we consider college students, like it or not we have to consider college students out of control on alcohol and drugs. Is it possible to allow guns on campus and keep them in the hands of rational people only?
You got any answers?

1 comment:

  1. My father in law lives in NC. He is elderly and shakes when he walks. He's also a gun owner and carries a loaded pistol everywhere (concealed in a holster under his jacket.) To obtain the license, he had to prove he could shoot the gun. He went to a shooting range and the instructor told him to aim and fire. He was able to pull the trigger but not able to aim at all. His hand shook wildly and he has no idea where the bullet went. They gave him a license.

    Now he wants to attend my son's High School graduation at a public high school in Albemarle County. He intends to bring his gun. I am at wit's end as to what to do about this. Oh, and did I mention he is a racist with a hot temper and currently on anti depressants??? Yes, indeed. What a lovely combination for a LICENSED gun owner!

    If this is the picture of someone legally carrying a gun, I can't imagine someone illegally carrying a gun!!!