Gun bans: what are we really talking about here?

woman-gunBaa Ram U. hit the front page of the Denver Post this morning with an article about the ban on guns that Public Safety and the President’s Cabinet have recommended.  The students disagree, although the article does a very poor job of actually talking to students or showing any proof of this beyond the assertions by leaders of the Associated Students of Baa Ram U.  (I’m not saying they’re dishonest, I’m saying that the reporting for this story is lazy.)

The ASCSU student senate tonight is likely to pass a resolution that asks CSU president Tony Frank to keep current policy, which adheres to the state’s concealed-weapons law. It allows someone with a concealed-weapons permit to carry a handgun almost anywhere on campus.

Only in residence halls are weapons forbidden.

Frank will weigh the ASCSU vote in deciding whether to form a different weapons law for the university, said CSU spokesman Brad Bohlander.

Currently, 23 states allow public campuses or state systems to decide their own weapons policies, with nearly all choosing to be “gun-free,” according to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

CSU is one of the rare exceptions, deciding in 2003 to follow the state’s concealed-weapons law. The ASCSU points out that concealed weapons have been allowed at Blue Ridge Community College in Virginia since 1995 and at Michigan State University since June.

Longtime readers already know what I think about guns on campusThey sure as hell don’t make me feel any safer!  But, it doesn’t really matter if guns are “banned” or permitted in classrooms, labs, libraries, and various public spaces on our campus.  Unless the university is going to install security details and metal detectors at the entrances of each and every building, this proposed “ban” is entirely rhetorical. 

I think it’s hillarious that I could be apprehended by campus police for lighting up a cigarette in my office or in class for exposing my students to all of that bad, bad, dangerous secondhand smoke, but it’s all nice’n’legal for me to walk around with a concealed handgun.

(Takes out a pack of cigarettes, and smacks it on her desk to release one.  Lights it, inhales, and exhales. . . ) 

Now, where can I find that high-fashion Kevlar vest?

9 thoughts on “Gun bans: what are we really talking about here?

  1. At SUNY Buffalo, students fought the administration for close to a decade to keep campus police from having guns.

    OTOH, afaik, the only time one was fired on campus by police was in a mercy killing when a deer broke through a pane glass window and fell fatally wounded into a hallway.

    It would be so much better if students could assist in such duties, because events like that — quite obviously — happen all the time.


  2. Say it ain’t so….not a Marlboro? I’m in favor of the campus ban, even if it is effectively unenforceable, and I’m certainly not ready for the metal detector regime. Just because they don’t belong there, period. Of course, I’m also in favor of repealing the Second Amendment if it can’t be interpreted and enforced the way it obviously reads, which is not the way the Supreme Court most recently read it.

    I got briefly detained late last night–on a public street, no less–by a friendly campus officer for “carrying” too much unscraped ice on my windshield. Got off with a mild admonishment (and 2-4 minutes of loosely supervised glass scraping).


  3. Indyanna–hah! You’re a non-scraping scofflaw. I knew it! (I guess you figure you’ll be home in the time it would take to scrape it properly?)

    Just kidding about the cigarette. But I might be persuaded to engage in political theater of just that sort, depending on what happens with this “gun ban.” (Maybe we could issue Baa Ram U. permits only for mercy killing errant the errant Elk that are always crashing into our dorms.)


  4. The Denver Post’s reporting is often lazy. That is somewhat forgivable in an age of declining readership and co-opting of their product by new media and to some degree, the blogosphere. We can say they should adapt faster, but it just isn’t clear to me *how* you do that exactly.

    In October I got them to correct this story. The error was pretty clear – they read the same press release that every other organization got, and they made an unwarranted assumption about which President was being targeted in this plot. That story, BTW, is still quite the mystery to me. Why send a threat? Why not prepare to carry it out? Why plead guilty? Why didn’t the DoJ report the motive, since they seem to know it? I tried to get the Boulder Weekly interested in following up, and need to check back to see if they’ve done anything with it.

    I found another more disturbing problem that calls into question the editorial integrity of the Denver Post and blogged about it on their site here.

    Also re: bans, consider the state of the “open carry” laws. There may actually be some meaning that isn’t discussed in the story. My understanding is that you can legally and openly carry a sidearm almost anywhere without a concealed carry permit unless it is explicitly posted otherwise.

    I think some businesses do not want to post such a prohibition because they feel it will deter police officers from patronizing them. I would need to read more, but there may be some benefit to the law that doesn’t related to concealed carry.


  5. Yeah, I’d still be out there scraping to really get it clear. It was my misfortune to drive through a narrow campus alleyway with the cop coming the other way. Hir headlights diffused through my half-scraped windshield making it impossible to see anything. At least I didn’t take our hir left headlight, which would have really been a provocation. When getting my documents back I was thinking this kid, I mean officer, should probably be cited for missing one of my classes last week or last year, probably a Crim. major!


  6. I went digging deeper to see what the Colorado laws say about open carry on campus. According to this I am wrong about campuses and open carry has never been allowed.

    I do know that outside of the specifically restricted areas it is legal to carry openly. That knowledge isn’t very widespread and the police can get themselves into trouble from time to time. I believe there used to be a statute against open carry (possibly enacted around the time of the Brady Bill?) but that it expired and wasn’t renewed.


  7. I don’t know about Colorado, but getting a concealed permit is not necessarily very easy (unless you live in a very red state). It’s easy to sit back and say “no guns” when campuses tend not to be targets for violent criminal activity (minus the occasional psychopath, obviously). All it takes is one illegal gun on campus. It’s not the legal permit holders we really need to worry about.


  8. FrauTech–good point. The credentialing process is fairly extensive (and expensive, from what I hear). But–most of the people who engage in mass killings get their guns legally–the V-tech killer, the Fort Hood killer, and I think the Northern Illinois killer, too.

    My point here is that any gun “ban” or permission to carry on my campus will be entirely rhetorical, since we don’t walk through metal detectors or get frisked when we enter the campus grounds or buildings.


  9. Pingback: Wrung out. | Historiann

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