On Feb. 13, Eric Smith wrote an article for ocolly.com, the website of the Oklahoma State University student newspaper. In his rabid attack on self-defense, Smith epitomizes the arguments of many anti-gun advocates. To make his point, he denies the facts and invents a series of new “rights.”
Smith first argues that “If there were to be an incident, the police would only have a harder time determining who the actual attacker is.” So, what happens when the police arrive at a shooting off campus? Police are trained to assess such situations; it’s part of the job. Furthermore, in cases where a person with a concealed carry permit fires back, the shooting rarely lasts long enough to require police to make such a determination. By the time police arrive, the shooting is generally over. The primary reason mass shootings in “gun-free” zones don’t end before the police arrive is because there is a lack of comparable resistance.
Smith then attacks the training requirements, claiming, “the required instruction course to obtain the permit lasts eight hours and does little more than teach people how to use a gun.” I have not taken the Oklahoma Concealed Carry course, but if this claim is true, it is a major anomaly. Generally, the bulk of the course addresses state law regarding concealed carry, and is followed by a shooting test, not shooting instruction.
Smith then turns to the ever popular “wild-west” argument—the same argument that was made when the original concealed carry laws were passed. It should be noted that the gunfight at the O.K. corral, perhaps the most famous “wild-west” shootout, lasted for approximately 30 seconds, and resulted in 3 deaths. Compare that to the 25 injured, and 33 dead at “gun-free” Virginia Tech over a period of about 2.5 hours (although most of the shooting occurred in the last 10 minutes) and the “wild-west” doesn’t seem so foreboding. Furthermore, there has yet to be a gun-related incident on campus at schools which allow concealed carry on campus.
Smith claims, “instructors have the right to feel safe at work. Ask any professor on campus, and they [sic] will tell you knowing a student has a gun makes them feel less safe.” (Given that the bill allows concealed carry, the professor probably wouldn’t know if a student was carrying a firearm). Smith continues, “It’s time for students to take a stand against these dangerous proposals and defend our right to learn in a gun-free environment.” With regards to the first claim, where is the right to “feel safe” enumerated? I was unable to find it in the U.S. or Oklahoman Constitution, although the latter does state, “The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power, when thereunto legally summoned, shall never be prohibited;” The question of rights aside, why are professors so afraid of their students? Is Oklahoma State a haven for felons?
To the latter question, I am once again unable to locate a “right to learn in a
gun[defense]-free learning environment.” Not only is this “right” fabricated, the statement is based on a fallacy. The only guns not allowed on campus are those belonging to law-abiding private citizens. These weapons pose no threat to students. Criminals, I assure you, have no qualms about violating the statute. “Gun-free” zones are gun-free in name only.