State Senator Ron Gould determined to let students pack heat

Though university administrators, student leaders, professors, and other stakeholders have made it known they do not want guns on campus, state Senator Ron Gould and company have made it known they intend to overrule them anyway.

Why? Well according to Gould and other Republican legislators, guns on college campuses will protect students. The argument goes that having 18 and 20 year olds armed with deadly weapons will help prevent a tragedy such as the one that occurred at Virginia Tech in 2007.

You see, if students had been allowed to carry guns on campus, one of them surely would have been able to calmly and without harm to anyone other than the assailant, shoot down the gunman and save dozens of innocent lives.

Of course, most of us realize that if another 19 year old had been armed that day, it’s quite possible that the circumstances would have been too chaotic to do much of anything other than take cover. Since most of our college students have not had extensive weapons and combat training, most would not be able to disarm a crazed gunman without unintentionally hurting or killing other innocent bystanders. And even with extensive training, many shooting situations are not as easily concluded as those portrayed in the movies.

When my husband, a highly trained and decorated officer, was shot, he was one of three people carrying a gun that day. His murderer pulled a weapon and shot him before he had time to react. My husband’s partner, also armed and highly trained, would have been killed as well had he not taken cover. Innocent bystanders would have been killed had my husband’s partner not understood that firing rounds into a crowded street would have put even more people at risk.

The idea that simply arming as many individuals as possible will somehow keep us safer is just not true. If it were, this country, which ranks highest in gun ownership among nations, would be the safest country in which to live. It is not. In fact the United States has the highest rate of gun violence among nations with similar political and economic circumstances.

Pointing out that fact doesn’t make me anti-Second Amendment. Nor does it indicate that I somehow wish to ban guns.

As I’ve stated before, I’m a gun owner myself and do not want anyone taking away my right to own and carry a weapon. However, I’m also a pragmatist and understand that absolutely no freedoms in this country are absolute and all come with a list of restrictions, particularly when it concerns public safety.

For instance, I cannot write slanderous things about another individual on this blog, even if I really, really dislike the person. Nor can I carry a loaded weapon onto a plane, even if I’m a police officer (I’m not, but you get my point).

Though I attended college years ago, I don’t pretend to be an expert on campus life or the psychology of students. I prefer to leave that to those who do understand. People like campus administrators, student leaders and professors; those who deal with these students day in and day out.

This is why I find it so curious that legislators such as Mr. Gould would rebuke those warnings and instead push for a bill that goes against the wishes of those who would be affected by its implementation.

But there’s an even bigger reason why I find the guns on campus bill so offensive. It’s the fact that at a time when our legislators should be focused on improving the state’s education system and actively searching for ways to boost the economy and lift this state’s residents out of poverty, they are instead focused on writing legislation to fix a problem that does not exist.

The “guns on campus” bill does nothing to address the economic insecurities in this state and in fact increases the economic burden on colleges and universities. The bill, as currently proposed, would require colleges to install gun lockers in at least one entrance to every building on campus if they wish to keep guns out of classrooms, and there are no additional funds being allocated to cover this expense. So why do we need this bill?

Because it’s necessary? No. Because it’s prudent? No.

The bill fails to address any of the real problems our state is facing, provides additional cost burdens to colleges, and endangers a possible safety risk to students. This is not smart public policy but rather a political tool to promote one’s image and electability. And haven’t we had enough of that already?


  1. JJ

    The right to carry a firearm does not mean that a person is a certified gunfighter. I’m a veteran, and attended many schools 20+ years ago in close-quarters battle. To react to an active shooter situation, it takes a solid 8 weeks of training, monthly target practice, and at least quarterly simulation training to be able to respond in an appropriate fashion. We have no further to look than the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. Had a uniformed police officer been standing next to Gabby, s/he would likely have been the first to fall. There is no quick draw that can beat the elements of surprise and violence. It is also notable that the armed citizen who was on the scene very nearly shot the man who disarmed Jared Loughner.

  2. Falcon9

    States that allows concealed carry have fewer mass murders. The University of Arizona had a mass murder. We don’t hear about that. The states that have allowed concealed carry on university campuses have not had any accidents. We have had quite a number of students raped and murdered as they leave campus. Campus police don’t count those victims. Criminals know these students are defenseless. There are no grounds for your hysteria.

    1. Post
      Julie Erfle

      I disagree that simply arming more students will prevent crimes or keep students safer. If you listen to what campus police are saying, as well as administrators and student groups, they believe the opposite is true. If you look at the rate of gun violence in this country, especially when compared to other countries, the facts seem to support the opposite of what you believe. I do not think that’s hysteria on my part of the part of others who object to this bill but rather a logical response to facts.

      1. John Thomas

        The U.S. has had all-time record gun sales over the last three years, but violent crime has gone down. Your “Facts” are simply your wishes.

        1. Post
          Julie Erfle

          John, I don’t dispute your facts. The question remains as to why guns on campus are needed, particularly when campus administrators, professors, student leaders and law enforcement have all stated they do NOT wish for this bill to go forward. Why is it needed? It seems to be a solution in search of a problem.

  3. JJ

    Falcon 9, I’d like to challenge your thinking. Arizona, Oregon, Texas, Florida, Arkansas, and Colorado have all had mass shootings, and allow concealed carry. I have yet to see any documentation of an active shooter EVER being engaged by a civilian carrying a handgun. If you can point out a case, I’d be appreciative.

  4. Tom Brennan


    I’m in absolute agreement with you. One of the most telling statements AGAINST allowing handguns on campus was made a few years ago by Texas senator Rodney Ellis:

    “When there is an alcohol-related tragedy on campus, you don’t hear claims that giving students a 12 pack is a solution.” he said. “Yet, when it comes to gun-related incidents, we seem to think that putting more guns in the mix will lead to a good, rather than bloody, outcome”.

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