Ok Let's Have Open Carry on Campus|
January 7, 2014
The campus liberals are up in arms about the recent changes to North Carolina’s
concealed carry laws. High on their list of objections is a new provision that
allows concealed weapons permit holders to keep their guns locked in their car
trunks when parked on public university property. This replaces a previous
absolute ban on having guns on campus - unless, of course, you are a member of
the campus law enforcement community.
There is one major objection to the new law, which, when rebutted, causes
liberals to raise additional objections. I deal with that major argument and
each additional argument below. After you examine them in their entirety, you
may conclude (as I have concluded) that it is time to allow for the open
possession of firearms on all public university campuses here in the Tar Heel
Argument #1. Allowing loaded guns to be stored in car trunks on campus
property will result in an increase in car burglary.
This is odd, given that the anti-gun left has argued that people don't need guns
on campus because a) campus crime is low and b) the campus police are fully
capable of protecting people. Apparently, there is going to be a sudden outbreak
of car burglary so severe that even the campus cops won't be able to handle it.
That seems to be their argument. So I have a solution: Let's just lift the
campus ban on concealed weapons permits altogether.
In sum, don't force people to leave guns in their trunks (by that I mean car
trunks, not swimming trunks). Let them carry their weapons just like they can
when they leave campus and circulate in the surrounding community. Problem
solved! Giddy up cowboys!
Argument #2. Allowing concealed weapons will be dangerous in an environment
where controversial ideas are debated because people may be unaware that they
are arguing with an individual who is armed.
Well, the solution to that problem is simple. If we allow people to carry openly
then there is no longer a question of who is carrying and who isn't. If you are
having an argument and don't like the fact that your opponent has a Colt 45 on
his waist then you can always go find someone else with whom to argue. Your
body, your choice! Another problem solved. Can I have another giddy up?
Argument #3. Open carry is a bad idea because visible firearms clearly deter
the free expression of ideas.
Finally, the left has admitted that deterrence theory has merit! These guns that
somehow don't deter murder and rape actually do deter conversation. To
recapitulate, a gun won't save a person from being attacked but it might prevent
his ideas from being attacked.
This argument is an absurdity. It is also irrelevant. We already have visible
deterrents to free speech that have decimated the marketplace of ideas in
college classrooms across America. I am, of course, referring to speech codes.
And some universities, like my own, are so committed to these codes that they
are actually visibly displayed on classroom walls.
Walk into any classroom at UNC-Wilmington (where I teach) and you will see a
framed "Seahawk Respect Compact" displayed prominently on the wall. It warns
students to refrain from using any words that might be deemed "disrespectful" or
"uncivil." The problem is that, as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once stated,
"every idea is an incitement." In other words, people can respond to any idea
they don't like by complaining that it is "disrespectful" or "uncivil" - or
"offensive" or "unsettling" and so on and so on. The problem is exacerbated by
intolerant leftist professors who actually think these speech codes trump the
constitutional rights of college students.
Put simply, our constitution protects offensive speech. It doesn't protect
Speech codes are a far greater threat to free speech than handguns. The reason
for that is simple. No one thinks he'll be shot by a gun toting conservative
just for expressing a liberal idea. But many people fear being prosecuted by a
speech code toting liberal just for expressing a conservative idea.
The reality of this is that replacing "respect compacts" and other speech codes
with guns would increase respect and civility in more ways than one. Both
censorship and crime would decline precipitously.
Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina
Wilmington and author of
Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting
Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.