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Thread: Letter: In Defense of Gun Rights Week

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    Letter: In Defense of Gun Rights Week

    More letters and such from the James Madison University student paper "The Breeze".

    Letter: In Defense of Gun Rights Week

    Letter: In Defense of Gun Rights Week

    Posted By Letters to the Editor On February 26, 2009 @ 1:19 am In Opinion | No Comments

    I have heard many people condone the JMU College Republicans and Students for Concealed Carry on Campus for hosting Gun Rights Week. It is no secret that most students at JMU disapprove of the notion that students should be allowed to carry on campus. Most people fear those who would carry guns, and are worried that a “wild west” situation would occur that results in mass chaos. This is simply untrue. Look at these facts:

    * In states that allow concealed carry, total violent crime is 13 percent lower, homicide is 3 percent lower, robbery is 26 percent lower and aggravated assault is 7 percent lower (A 1996 FBI Uniform Crime Report)

    * Since Florida instituted concealed carrying in 1987, less than 0.02 percent of Florida carry permits have been revoked because of gun crimes committed by license holders (Florida Dept. of State)

    * In the 31 states that now have “concealed right to carry” laws, murders were down, on average, by 8.5 percent (National Center for Policy Analysis).

    * Rapes were down 5 percent and serious assaults by 7 percent (NCPA)

    * In cities with populations of more than 250,000, murder rates dropped after the passage of such laws by an average of 13.5 percent (NCPA).

    These are just some statistics. But overall, they show that crime goes down when concealed carrying is allowed. In Utah, for example, they allow concealed carrying on college campuses. Do we ever hear of out-of-control crime? Of course not. To bring this closer to home, Blue Ridge Community College allows concealed carrying, and they have not had problems with the policy. The truth of the matter is that people have false assumptions of what may happen. It is not those who abide by the law we need to worry about, but the criminals who do not.

    Kyle Jacobs
    Freshman political science major
    .
    "The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on"

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    And the other side "fires" back

    Firing Back

    Firing Back

    Posted By Whitten Maher On February 26, 2009 @ 1:19 am In Opinion | 1 Comment

    The concealed carry on campus issue returns — debate doesn’t

    [1] Second amendment issues don’t really push my buttons as of late. Of course gun violence horrifies, but the relationship between the Second Amendment and gun control policy — haunted as it is by syntax and that pesky, anachronistic bit about a “militia” — poses constitutional questions, the depths of which I can’t claim to answer presently.

    My ambivalence toward the larger issue of gun control aside, I can’t remain silent when it comes to the torrid affair some of my fellow students have with firearms and their aspirations of bearing them on campus.

    I’m not afraid to say that some people are “second amendment advocates” not for reasons of liberty or safety. Some people just like guns. Such a mindset is more pathological than logical, and any argument relying solely on an appeal to gun culture should be taken out back and shot.

    Those arguments have been few and far between, though. More numerous are the distasteful rants aimed at cultivating fear. There’s the oh-so-nuanced “So you would be fine with just sitting there and getting slaughtered?” dig which so many proponents of concealed carry fall back on. You’ll notice common threads interwoven through countless Web posts: a person snarling at what they see as idealistic naďveté, all but taunting their opponents with a sick “when the day comes” scenario in which the people who disagree with them would be helpless (and a concealed carrier would surely save the day).

    Yet some gun rights advocates have excelled recently in providing legitimate, hard-to-contest arguments for their position, and if you deny that you would be just as dogmatic as those I mentioned above. Much to my dismay, as I read comments on The Breeze and the Daily News-Record’s Web sites I actually found myself sympathizing with the idea of carrying guns on campus.

    When argued calmly and logically, it’s a seductive pitch. It’s a fight for personal liberty and for the means to defend one’s self and others. It’s the fact that, once you step on to a college campus, you’re stripped of a certain right. It’s rugged individualism taken to the armed extreme. It rubbed me the wrong way, but it somehow rang true for a while. Although couched in unnerving, militaristic — almost survivalist — rhetoric, this cold, conservative logic of self-preservation made some sense.

    I found it hard to argue against concealed carry on campus, but at the end of the day, I don’t want guns on my campus.

    So why the dissonance?

    For starters, the only people I had read or heard from at length were concealed carry supporters. Kudos to Students for Concealed Carry on Campus and the College Republicans for rallying support, I guess. The movement is the biggest one I’ve seen at JMU all year.

    SCCC and Co. are in the position of speaking out against the status quo, so perhaps that’s why so few are speaking out against them.

    Small wonder I began to wander, then; the dialogue has been lopsided. The lack of articulate, well reasoned opposition to the concealed carry on campus movement is striking. However you feel, there should be enlightened debate on the issue. It is still policy that people cannot bring concealed weapons onto our campus, but when a just precedent is challenged one must act swiftly to defend it — persuasively and with reasons.

    You cannot categorically dismiss proponents of concealed carry on campus as trigger-happy “gun nuts” frothing at the mouth; that’s a disingenuous and dangerously lazy way to debate. You cannot linger, as too many do, on the paradoxical quality of their argument: that having more guns makes society safer. (They actually do, but in much the same way that nuclear weapons made both the United States and the USSR safer in the anxious years of a protracted Cold War.)

    Neither of those points will convince anyone who wasn’t with you before, so let’s try something different.

    The issue at stake is not the Second Amendment. It’s carrying weapons onto a college campus, which has been distinguished from other public areas.

    I’ve heard statistics that report lower crime rates in states with concealed carry laws, but not a single study pointing to campus violence. Citing statistics gleaned from crimes in suburbs, cities and rural areas — distinctly different environments with distinctly different crimes — is not a valid way to argue the point. And when concealed carry supporters do mention colleges, it’s always the sensational shootings — never the thousands of peaceful, uneventful days on campuses across the nation.

    As longtime political operative Rahm Emmanuel remarked, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Proponents of concealed carry on campus brazenly seize the opportunities provided by the shootings at Virginia Tech and other schools to gain momentum for their cause.

    It’s important to note that the No. 1 justification used for concealed carry on campus has been the potential for a single, absurdly specific scenario: 1) a premeditated campus shooting 2) taking place during the day and 3) in a classroom. Such incidents are tragic and senseless, but they are also rare, unpredictable and unpreventable — it’s irresponsible to base an entire movement on such a limited hypothetical.

    Consider, too, that concealed carry would effectively deputize any student on campus to act in place of law enforcement in the case of such an event (something supporters have explicitly pointed to as a benefit) — but without the training, tactics and experience our law enforcement officers possess. Does being a responsible gun owner qualify you to be a vigilante? I’m not referring to the act of judging who lives or dies, but rather the implications of unprepared, armed students trying to diffuse an already violent combat situation.

    By this point, I can’t believe I was so convinced by arguments based on the selective use of isolated incidents, anger over hypothetical situations and fearmongering. It’s nice to find your voice, isn’t it?

    Keep guns the hell off my campus.

    Whitten Maher is a junior political science and media arts & design major and The Breeze’s opinion editor.
    .
    "The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on"

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    I wonder if the writer of the second article would have the same to say if he were a student at VT when the SHTF. I am sure his tune would be a tad different if the BG were pointing his weapon at the writer and a fellow student with carry permit and weapon had the good sense to bring things to an end. Sure, it doesn't happen often (good thing too) but it does happen.

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    I'm mostly taken by the "It's MY campus and I don't want those DIRTY things here" attitude (which makes me imagine a child having a temper tantrum).
    .
    "The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on"

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    Agreed. Just because you have a college education is no guarantee you have learned all there is to learn. Some lessons are hard to teach.

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    If I read him correctly, it appears his argument follows this logic:

    1) They make a good point.

    2) But it really is so unlikely.

    3) Screw their good point, I STILL don't want guns on "my" campus.
    If you ever crawl inside an old hollow log and go to sleep, and while you're in there some guys come and seal up both ends and then put it on a truck and take it to another city, boy, I don't know what to tell you. - Jack Handey

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