Friday, March 02, 2012

Gun Free Zone by Tyler Montague

“Precious” Guns

In April of 2007, Seung-Hui Cho walked onto Virginia Tech’s campus and killed 32 people, and wounded another 25. In this “gun-free” zone, none of the students and faculty were armed, and thus all were subjected to the killer’s lack of mercy.

Senator Gould would like to prevent that scenario via SB1474, which would allow concealed weapon permit holders to carry on state college campuses.

In response, Senator Gallardo (D) posted this photo of Seung-Hui Cho, with the following comment:

“Coming soon to a university or community college near you..... Or someone like him. (No to guns on campus.)”

So…allow good citizens to carry a weapon, and suddenly we’ll have gun violence? I’ve decided that some liberals subscribe to what I call the “Lord of the Rings” gun theory. It’s when an otherwise good person spends too much time around his “precious” weapon, he is overtaken by the scary, evil, aura emitted from all guns, until finally he spontaneously combusts into a violent outburst and shoots up a nursing home. A good gun-free zone can prevent this from happening, of course…at least until all guns are melted down and all violence is thereby eliminated from society.

Sigh. Let’s take it from the top: Virginia Tech was a gun-free zone at the time of the massacre, folks. Yet somehow that crazed murderer had the gall to disregard their campus rules. Imagine that.

Over and over again, gun restrictionists fail to acknowledge a simple truth: That anyone who would murder another human isn’t someone who worries about obeying gun laws. They’ve already blown through trivial inhibitions like honoring gun-free zones and coming to a full and complete stop at intersections. They’re up to the “murder” level of badness. Everything below killing on the hierarchy of wrongdoing is fair game for them. Why isn’t this obvious by now? Libs, please, please try to comprehend this. Unless you enforce your “no-weapons zone” with armed guards and a metal-detector, like they do at the courthouse, your law merely disarms law-abiding people.

At least ASU President Michael Crow brings up other concerns about the proposed law that are logical: He worries that armed-but-untrained individuals could make poor decisions under stress, leading to errant gunfire that could hit innocent bystanders. In his view, these risks outweigh whatever benefits may come from armed students or staff. This is a reasonable concern, although there is plenty of data to suggest Crow’s concerns are contradicted by evidence.

I think the biggest threat to our right to keep and bear arms is an uninformed public and activist judiciary, panicked by highly publicized crimes with guns. (The media rarely seems to publicize all the cases where people defend themselves with guns. I should confess that, “Criminal fled after gun-owner pulled out a weapon,” isn’t as dramatic of a headline as a multiple homicide.)

The anti-gun crowd would love to exploit an incident on campus involving a mistake by a weapons permit holder. To address President Crow’s concerns, they ought to add a little more practical training to the CCW permit process. I took a 2-day CCW course at Gunsite, where students fired nearly 500 rounds and received more initial weapons training than many new police officers. This should become the standard.

Even as it exists, the concealed weapons permit process has done an adequate job at vetting and training people. Upon introduction of the laws enabling concealed firearm carry, and many other laws favoring 2nd Amendment freedoms, we’ve heard predictions of apocalyptic violence. None of it has occurred. There is no data to support the claims of anti-carry arguments. In fact, violent crime has dropped significantly, and there is a lot of data to suggest that criminals’ fear of armed citizens has something to do with it.

And all arguments aside, there’s the Constitution. While many begrudgingly concede the right to “keep” arms, they often forget the words “and bear.”

So, should the legislature vote for S.B. 1474? Not so fast.

At ASU, for example, according to S.B. 1474, President Crow gets to determine whether or not to allow guns into campus buildings. If he decides not to, as he already indicated, then ASU has to provide lockers outside each building for weapons. An armed student would carry her gun from her car to her first class, lock it in a locker, retrieve it and be armed on the sidewalk for a few minutes while she walks to her next class, where she has to then deposit the weapon in another locker, and so on. Completely impractical.

The initial estimate from the schools is approximately $13 million dollars to build the lockers, and then an ongoing $3 million annual cost to hire campus police to babysit them. That’s a lot of money to waste in order to keep students and staff just as unprotected as they were before.

The bill also makes lawmakers look out of touch by working on a problem that few voters rank as a priority, while unemployment is high, the housing bubble still stings, and our K-12 education ranks near the bottom.

So, either pass a bill that lets people protect themselves, while addressing legitimate safety concerns, or don’t pass a bill at all. We don’t have money and political capital to waste on a bill that doesn’t actually achieve anything. Vote no on S.B. 1474.

Tyler Montague is a gun-owning, SUV-driving, meat-eating Republican from Mesa, who loves this state and wants good policy.

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