Thursday, January 22, 2009

Guns in Dorms!

For every good bill introduced in the Indiana General Assembly, there are a handful of bad bills. And each year there are also a handful of bills that are so bad that they are just idiotic. Senate Bill 12 (authored by  Sen. Johnny Nugent, R-Southeast Indiana) is the winner (at least so far) of dumbest bill of the 2009 legislative session. The bill would add one new chapter (consisting of once sentence) to the Indiana criminal code:

A state educational institution may not regulate in any manner the ownership, possession, carrying, or transportation of firearms or ammunition.

When I first saw this bill I presumed that it was in response to the tragic events at Virginia Tech University and Sen. Nugent’s letter to the editor of The Indianapolis Star (in response to an opinion column opposing the bill) confirms that presumption. While I understand (well, kinda…) Sen. Nugent’s desire to allow college students to pack heat in order to protect themselves from nutcases who might be intent on violence on campus, it doesn’t take much thought to see why SB 12 is a really, really bad idea.

Let’s consider a few things. First, most students don’t live by themselves on campus. Thus, the gun, when not carried by the student, will likely be sitting in a dorm room to which many other people (roommate(s) and friends, for example) will have access. My freshman dorm room was often a bit like Grand Central Station and there weren’t many good hiding places. And remember that college roommates don’t always get along (I used a jar of gefilte fish when I needed a little privacy; my Korean roommate preferred to use his mom’s kimche). Fights among roommates (whether merely verbal or escalating to something more) are not uncommon. Add to this brew the fact that we are talking about young adults, many of them away from home for the first time, often under a great deal of stress (presuming that they are taking their studies seriously). Do we really want to introduce guns into that situation? Oh, I forgot to mention alcohol. Last time that I checked, use of alcohol (and even drugs) was fairly common on college campuses. And we know how well guns and alcohol mix.

And let’s go back to Virginia Tech for a moment. I suppose that the shooter might have been stopped had another student been armed. Maybe. But unless the other armed student (students?) really knew their way around their firearms, how much collateral damage (i.e., other students) would have been caused. Police officers undergo extensive training before being allowed on the street with a weapon, but virtually anyone can obtain a license to own a gun. If you are the parent of a college student, would you be comforted to know that your child might be protected from a crazed serial killer by other students with concealed weapons? Or, are you more concerned that those weapons will pose an even greater danger to your child than the rare serial killer?

And ask yourself this: Why limit this statute to colleges? Why not allow guns in high schools or hospitals or courtrooms? Maybe if the passengers aboard the planes on 9/11 had been armed, they would not have been hijacked (of course, the passengers defending the planes might have shot out windows and caused the planes to crash anyway…)! Maybe we should require everyone to have a gun! Yeah, that’s the ticket. If we all have a pistol on our hip, an assault rifle on our shoulder, a few grenades on our belt, and maybe a rocket launcher strapped to our back, no one will mess with us and we’ll be free of crime and violence forever! Of course one little misunderstanding could get pretty ugly, very quickly, but I guess that is the price that we should pay for safety, right?

Sarcasm aside, I think that guns are dangerous. They are supposed to be. But when it comes to college campuses, I think that students will be much safer in a gun-free environment. Sure, from time to time someone may come along with a means and motive to do harm. That, unfortunately is part of our society (of course, if that person had a more difficult time obtaining a gun in the first place…). But to address that rare occurrence by allowing yet more weapons is simply asking for trouble and yet more  violence. We should be looking for every opportunity to reduce the chance of gun violence rather than increasing that chance in order to reduce the isolated really bad instances of gun violence.

Please call your legislators (remember, you can check the Indiana General Assembly’s “Who Are Your Legislators?” page to learn who your legislators are and get their contact information) and tell them to oppose Senate Bill 12.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share


4 Comments:

At Tuesday, October 11, 2011 2:11:00 AM , Anonymous Security Guard Training said...

Whatever it takes, something should be done to prevent students from having guns. School security should also be tightened to avoid probable risks.

 
At Thursday, January 12, 2012 5:08:00 AM , Anonymous carolynterry said...

Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your website is very cool. I’m impressed by the details that you’ve on this blog. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched everywhere and simply couldn’t come across. What an ideal website.

 
At Thursday, January 12, 2012 10:18:00 AM , Blogger MSWallack said...

Thanks for the kind words, Carolyn. And you're obviously welcome to stop back anytime! You might be interested to know that there are two bills that have been introduced in the Indiana General Assembly again this year. Senate Bill 180 would add an exception to the existing law prohibiting guns on school property for guns brought onto school grounds by a person other than a student, if the gun is locked in the person's car. It also reduces the crime of bringing a gun onto school property from a felony to a misdemeanor. Senate Bill 181 is another attempt to prevent state agencies (including universities) from regulating possession or transportation of guns.

 
At Friday, January 13, 2012 5:09:00 AM , Anonymous jameshammett said...

I merely wanted to thank you a lot more for that amazing site you have created here. It’s full of useful tips for those who are actually interested in this specific subject, in particular this very post. Your all amazingly sweet along with thoughtful of others and reading your site posts is a great delight in my opinion. And such a generous reward! Dan and I usually have excitement making use of your tips in what we must do in the future. Our collection of ideas is a mile long which means your tips will definitely be put to beneficial use.

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older