Age provides perspective. I am, for example, continually amazed of how few of my high school students have seen the original StarWars movie, Episode IV: A New Hope. A great many cultural references and assumptions have their origin with that movie, yet so many are unaware of it.
Likewise, I have seen state after state vote in “shall issue” concealed carry, and the beginning of the “constitutional carry” wave. When I retire and move to Wyoming, I’ll be able to carry without state permission, yet I’ll have to obtain a license to enjoy reciprocity with neighboring states, unless the Congress is able to update federal law to more closely comply with the Constitution. I won’t be holding my breath.
When states considered “shall issue” concealed carry, the pattern has been the same. Anti-liberty/gun cracktivists have used the same narrative: “blood will run in the streets!” “Fender benders will provoke gunplay!” Crime will run rampant!” “It will be like the wild west!” “Cats and dogs living together!” And in every case, they were proved wrong, dramatically wrong. None of the horror they forecast have come to pass, and for rational people, this is no surprise. Americans that take the time and effort necessary to obtain concealed carry permits are uncommonly law-abiding. The law-abiding can be trusted to properly exercise their Second Amendment rights because they are, well, law-abiding. Oh, and cats and dogs continue to live together in varying states of tranquility.
The same patterns have played out in states where legislature have finally recognized reality and allowed people to carry handguns on college campuses, though most still resist allowing elementary and secondary teachers to do the same. Apparently the legislatures do not see their lives and the lives of their students as worthy of the protection of the Second Amendment? But in every state that has allowed campus carry, the wails of widespread bloodshed have failed to materialize, as Arkansas Online reports:
Guns on Arkansas college campuses haven’t caused any notable problems during the first semester they’ve been allowed, a variety of administrators from the state’s largest universities said at a legislative hearing Thursday on campus safety.
Translation: there have been no problems.
Still, some campus law enforcement officials and lawmakers remain concerned about the pitfalls of allowing firearms at universities and inside dorm rooms.
Of course they do. They just know any second every one of those gun nuts is going to shoot up the place, facts be damned:
We have not seen an issue yet on campus — I’m gonna knock on some wood here,’ Capt. Chris Bentley of the University of Central Arkansas Police Department told lawmakers on Thursday.
Officials from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Arkansas State University and a handful of other colleges from around the state echoed the same sentiment Thursday. All said town-hall style meetings and seminars on the new gun-carrying law have been well-attended by students and faculty members, adding that more information sessions will be held for incoming students in the fall.
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Police Chief Maxcie Thomas, however, told members of the Arkansas Legislative Council’s Higher Education Subcommittee on Thursday that he still has qualms with the new law.
Thomas said he’s concerned that a permitted gun carrier could ‘become an active shooter’ if a situation upset him. Additionally, Thomas fears that police would have a hard time distinguishing between an active shooter and gun-carrying resident in an emergency situation.’
‘It’d be hard to tell a good person from a bad person,’ he said. ‘It’s really challenging for us.
Anyone attending the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff should be very concerned. Not about a possible active shooter, but about Chief Maxcie and his officers. The police may use deadly force only when they are certain someone poses an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death to others. To put it as simply as possible, they don’t get to shoot someone holding a gun simply because they’re holding a gun. That person must be doing something direct, taking some action, or so clearly signaling they are about to do something that would lead a reasonable police officer to believe they must be shot and stopped right now.
This is the daily state of existence of every police officer everywhere. They know people are armed, can’t know with certainty who is armed, yet can’t be so paranoid they feel authorized to drill anyone that merely makes them feel paranoid. They have an absolute responsibility to differentiate “between an active shooter and gun-carrying resident in an emergency situation.” That’s what we pay them to do; that’s why they receive extensive and continuing training.
The police at UA Pine Bluff are no different from any police force. Citizens carry guns everywhere. Prohibiting them on campus merely ensures only criminals with evil intent will be carrying guns. If someone is so unhinged they’d shoot people over a grade or other petty matter, there is nothing to keep them from carrying a concealed weapon, or simply obtaining one and shooting people a short time later. The law-abiding don’t do that.
Conversely, Henderson State University Police Chief Johnny Campbell said licensed firearm carriers could be beneficial in a shooting situation because it could be two or three minutes before police can make it to the scene.
Actually it would likely take no less than five minutes for the police to arrive on campus—probably longer–and longer to find and engage a shooter on a sprawling campus with multiple buildings. It is people in the immediate area who are far more likely to know exactly what is happening and who the bad guy/s is/are. In such a case, the police have the responsibility to be certain about who they are shooting and why. That responsibility is never justification for disarming the law-abiding.
Officials from the University of Arkansas at Monticello said some students have expressed concerns about sharing a dorm room with a student who can carry a gun, and administrators try to move those students to another room.
Spokesmen for ASU, UA, and UCA said they weren’t aware of any such requests at their institutions.
There are, of course, special snowflakes everywhere, except, apparently, at ASU, UA and UCA.
These results should be surprising to no one. Carrying on campus requires the same age limitations and vetting—fingerprinting, records checks, training, etc.—as anywhere else in the state. Why would law-abiding people be different merely because they’re attending college or have a job that requires their presence on college campuses?
Eventually, on some Arkansas campus, someone with a concealed carry permit will do something stupid. When that happens, anti-liberty/gun cracktivists will scream “see? See? We told you so!” But the truth will be that event will be an aberration involving a tiny portion of a single percent of concealed carry licensees throughout the state that make a mistake or commit a crime.
That tiny statistic, and the irrational cries of those that would disarm the innocent and expose them to greater danger, will be déjà vu all over again.