Logic and Reason and Guns on Campus

My daughter just turned 14. That’s a happy thing. She’s growing from a beautiful child into an amazing young lady. It won’t be long before she’s driving (that’s NOT a happy thing – ask any dad) and in the not too distant future, heading off for the college of her our choice. And that brings me to the horns of a dilemma. Used to be, you’d pick a school based on just a few factors: the quality of the education, what it offered in the way of classes for a particular area of study, the cost of a 4-year degree, and the reputation for hard-partying (or lack thereof). But now, you have to add to that the relatively related concerns of the campus’s social bias and their attitude towards guns. I’ve got four years to figure this out. And that may not be enough time…

Just today, this article came across my desk with news from the great state of Colorado. Seems the Colorado Supreme Court has struck down a ban that the Colorado Board of Regents put in place, prohibiting guns on campus. Makes sense, right? I mean, what business does a bunch of academics have contradicting state law? As recently as 30 years ago, such a ban would have gotten the entire board fired, and laughed out of the state.

But over the past few decades, higher education has become increasingly more adverse to positions once thought sacrosanct, including a traditional reading of the 2nd Amendment. And the slippery slope of “logic” (as applied by the anti-gun crowd) has eroded our rights to the point where politicians and academics can claim it’s “for the children” and get a free pass on whatever nonsense they want to push down the collective throats of the public.

The immediate reaction in the Colorado Legislature was, interestingly enough, NOT a collective sigh of relief, as the courts righted the wrongs of the Board of Regents. Nope. The Progressive contingent immediately began speculation on how to craft a cut-out in the law to prevent concealed carry on campuses that would pass Constitutional muster. Swell. But rather than argue Constitutional law here, let’s take a step back and look at this issue from a common sense point of view.

Currently, gun laws are a hodgepodge, a patchwork quilt of contradictory regulations, from state to state. And surprisingly, this is the way it should be, as long as the laws don’t run afoul of impinging upon our Constitutionally-protected rights. If you’re not a student of the Constitution and the way our government is supposed to work, allow me to dredge up a term from your long-forgotten, high school civics class: “States Rights.”

Originally, the federal government was conceived as a group with specific powers, strictly limited to only those that were spelled out in the Constitution. In other words, the Constitution was written from the point of view that power comes from “We the People,” and the people granted the federal government only a limited number of very specific powers.

The Bill of Rights (the first ten Amendments to the Constitution) was added to specifically protect and spell out rights reserved for the people and to prevent the federal government from ever being able to step on those rights. The principle author of the Constitution, James Madison, felt that the Bill of Rights was unnecessary for he believed that they were obvious to anyone who read the Constitution. Opponents to ratification threw up the Bill of Rights as a roadblock – Madison agreed to add them as amendments to win support for passage of the Constitution.

Fast-forward 200 years. Seems as though the Bill of Rights was a very good idea after all.  Without them our right to keep and bear arms would have long since disappeared everywhere, not just on college campuses. But while we have a nationwide right to bear arms, it’s not an unlimited right.

The courts have held that these rights may have some “common sense” limitations, with such restrictions coming from the State Legislatures. This, in turn, is why it’s not such a bad idea that we have rights protected on a Federal level, but specific gun laws can vary from state to state. In effect, this allows the states to act as 50 different petri dishes, to experiment with new ways to either protect our rights or to impinge upon them, as the case may be.

And that brings us back to campus carry. One of the “common sense” limitations that many of the states have codified into law has to do with a minimum age for who can own and carry a firearm on their own. The whole concept of “age of consent” or “age of responsibility” is pretty interesting, and has resulted in some convoluted logic on it’s own. The classic example of such conflict is the idea that “a young man is old enough to die for his country, but not old enough to vote.”

At one time the voting age was 21, and the enlistment age was 18. The illogic of this prompted Congress to change the law to allow 18-year-olds the right to vote. (Of course, at 18, you’re old enough to get your backside shot off for Uncle Sam, but they maintain you’re not old enough to drink, so it’s not like logic and reason rule the day, when it comes to age laws). Legislatures across the land generally set 18 as the magical number for when a youngster becomes an adult, and is therefore legally responsible for their own actions.

Most people leave for college around 18 and graduate around 21 years of age. If college campuses were not designated as “gun-free zones” (a.k.a. “target-rich environments”), only faculty, some seniors and grad students would be legally able to conceal-carry. This immediately negates the argument that anti-gun forces marshaled to defeat campus-carry laws in places like Texas (!), where they suggested that a mix of guns, under-age kids and alcohol would turn our colleges and universities into abattoirs where the campus streets would run red with the blood of our young.  It’s for the children!

In the so-called “blue” states, I’m surprised that the legislatures haven’t pushed laws that would prohibit guns in homes where parents have opted to home-school their children. It hasn’t gotten THAT nuts yet. But it wouldn’t surprise me if it did.

But wait – don’t our laws already prohibit anyone under 21 from concealed carry? Why is that? Oh, yeah…it’s because anyone under 21 is considered a minor child and not legally responsible for their own actions, whereas, *prang!* pass your 21st birthday, and it’s your own damn fault, whatever mischief you do. Legally speaking, that makes 21′s and older “responsible citizens” in the eyes of the law. And in the eyes of the law, they should be allowed to carry.

But the “gun-free zone” advocates hold that NOBODY should be allowed to carry on-campus – not students who’ve reached their 21st year, not teachers, not staff, not ANYbody. (I grant you, a large proportion of college faculty wouldn’t be caught dead with a gun, because of their politics. But for those who teach and are not Progressives or anti-gun – usually, but not always synonymous – they are banned from self-protection as well.)

Now let’s bring this back to my own point of view. I have a daughter. She’s 5’10″ and looks older than her 14 years. If you’ve considered the prospects of sending your kid off to college, especially to one that is far enough away that you can’t be there in just a few minutes should they call for help, you’d really want them to be able to take care of themselves.

Have you looked into stats for rapes and assaults at any college on your kid’s list? Good luck with that – most schools do a bang-up job covering those stats up, releasing only what makes its way into the papers, since they can’t deny those. Which means, what you actually hear about is just the tip of the iceberg. And remember, for at least three out of the four years she’ll be a co-ed, she’d be rendered defenseless, even if campus carry were legal, since most gun laws prohibit under-21s from qualifying for a permit.

That leaves me on the horns of the aforementioned dilemma. Do I advise her to obey the law, go without a gun, then hope and pray for the best? Do I buy her a mouse gun and caution her to keep it hidden? Do I limit our college choices to states where she can legally carry? Or do I look for colleges in states where at least the campus police, faculty and staff can carry?

I don’t know. I’ve got about 4 years to figure it out. Maybe, within that time, our campus carry and state-wide conceal carry laws will change to allow anyone old enough to die for our country in combat to have the right to self-defense, no matter where they are. In the meantime, if you hear of any four-year institutions of higher learning that don’t just allow, but encourage students to bear arms, let me know, huh? It’s a pity that Colt or Springfield or some other gunmakers don’t just start their own college. I know that’s the kind of institution that would vault to the top of my list.

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About Brad Kozak

Brad Kozak is an iconoclastic, curmudgeonly graphic designer/marketer/writer/musician/advertiser/conservative creative guy. In 2007, he completed a gradual transition from a conservative semi-pacifist to a proactive, armed citizen, willing to exercise his Second Amendment rights to protect his family and property. His idea of “gun control” is hitting where he aims.

30 Responses to Logic and Reason and Guns on Campus

  1. avatarIdahoPete says:

    We are working on that very “guns on campus” issue here in Idaho. Our law unfortunately gives the college administrators the power to “regulate” guns on campus, and all of the college administrators (no surprise) have banned them. If you are not a student or faculty or employee, the most they can do is ask you to leave and trespass you if you refuse. If you are a student, even a married student in college housing, they will throw you out for having any guns on “property under the control of the college.”

    We have tried to get this policy changed to at least recognize Idaho carry permits on the campuses, but the educrats have refused to change any of the policies. So we are going for a legislative change next year. We can’t get it this year because of one RINO in the Senate (a key committee chairman), but the new legislative redistricting will increase the numbers of conservatives in the Senate.

    As a suggestion on colleges, look into Hillsdale College in Michigan. They are the ONLY college in the US that refuses to accept ANY federal money, so they set their curriculum without the “assistance” of the Dept. of Ed. One of their required freshman year courses is “The Constitution”. Bunch of radical Libertarians!

  2. avatarGS650G says:

    I was 17 when the government taught me to be proficient with a handgun and a fully automatic machine gun. I guess those responsibility rules are flexible. I wasn’t allowed to own handguns of my own, and needed a reason to bear the machine gun, but in the right circumstances I’d be asked to make decisions with that hardware without a note from my parents.

  3. avatarDaniel says:

    Pepper gel and knives. I carry five pieces of steel with me at all times when on campus. One of those knives is a Buck that cost $120, has a textured handle that won’t slip out of your hand when soaked in blood, and is strong enough to not break off when jammed into a rib cage.
    If she is caught with a gat on campus, then she’s expelled and thrown in jail. Hardly to her benefit. That is the more likely scenario of a (relatively) young person whose social status in college is determined by how much she talks than her being attacked by bad guys. One day she may let slip that she carries. Then her freedom- and her future- will be forfeit.
    Sorry, but the world isn’t fair. Nor is the world interested in allowing you every means possible to protect your progeny. In fact, they are very much interested in doing everything they can to ensure that you can’t. So work around the system. Arm her to the teeth in other ways. It’s all very romantic to stand up to the system like Guevera, but that really didn’t turn out so well for him. The system wins in the end.

  4. avatarST says:

    Mr. Kozak has valid concerns.

    As a veteran who attends college on the GI Bill, I am nothing less than appalled at the nearly criminal lack of security most colleges operate under. University Police departments exist to cite drunk driving and enforce parking violations;most of the members are students who are not empowered to carry weapons.

    Building security on campus is someone’s idea of a bad joke. There will be fancy terms thrown around in the brochure such as “24 hour lockdown” and “key card acess”. In real life all anyone has to do is knock on the door and another student will gladly let a stranger into the building as a common favor.Ditto for people who look “official”, whatever that means. Last week at work I stopped a census worker who didn’t have permission to enter the building for her count. Later investigation revealed that the same “census worker” was wandering around the residence hall buildings at 9pm the previous night long after business hours. She got in because another student, probably upon seeing her plastic “census enumerator” badge, just let the strange woman into the building.

    Classroom buildings are always left open during ‘business hours’, so any potential spree shooter will be able to move from building to building with impunity. As to the police response time, yet another comedy of errors ensues. Most colleges have very restrictive and convoluted road maps meant to showcase the scenery more than actually get people from point A to point B. Should the lead fly around here it would be exemplary if the police got to the area of the shooting within 10 minutes.As most of us know, that’s an eternity when an assault is in progress.

    Knowing how cruel life can be , the small number of colleges which permit legal concealed carry likely won’t have the academic field of study Mr. Kozak’s daughter would be interested in.I hope I am wrong, but changing majors is something of a sport for some people, and she may face a harrowing choice if the different career field desired isn’t offered at a 2A conscious university.
    It is beyond doubt that a school with the reputation of being the ‘best in the business’ such as Harvard, Yale,Northwestern, will never in a 100 years permit concealed carry.

    My only advice to the authori would be to seek the ear of the University President, and begin an in-person dialogue to discuss the possibility of the college issuing an Exception Letter to permit legal carry on campus. Even in gun-hostile places like California concealed carry on campus is legally kosher as long as its specifically authorized on university letterhead by the college president. Think of it as the ultimate may-issue permit.The likely answer will be a word which begins with “N” and ends with an “O”, but I would make the effort for any of my kids .Groveling will likely be necessary, and I would leave out any mention of the U.S. Constitution. That document has no meaning to 90% of so called educators. If push comes to shove, what the college Board doesn’t know about cannot be used against you.

    Hopefully this helps the discussion a little bit. I offer this because I went to a meeting at work on campus and the topic turned to a spree shooter scenario. The official line by the management is to silence your phone and hide under a desk.It is no exaggeration to state that should the author’s daughter decide to carry, her pocket gun will be the last line of defense for herself and anyone else in the vicinity of the attack.

  5. avatarMr. Lion says:

    that’s NOT a happy thing – ask any dad

    Why? Do your nerves a favor and send her to a 2-3 day performance driving school. That’ll give her car control and braking skills, and the all important situational awareness while driving a car. An easy leg up on safety over 99.95% of the driving public.

    No different than shooting. Want them to be safe? Teach ‘em how.

    • avatarRalph says:

      Want them to be safe? Teach ‘em how.

      That works if every other driver on the road has also been taught how. Great, safe, trained drivers get killed every day by drunks and idiots. Brad is right to be worried.

      • avatarMr. Lion says:

        Yes they do, however a driver trained to react to unexpected situations is significantly less likely to be harmed by the other idiots on the road.

        Just like guns.

  6. avatarbontai Joe says:

    I have a daughter in college that also works part time at a store in the evenings. And I’ll tell you I have earned EVERY SINGLE ONE of my gray hairs. I worry about her a lot, she won’t have anything to do with guns and I’m sure not going to force someone to get into shooting, but I have gone over the safety rules and how to be situationally aware. I hope and pray it’s enough. I wish your daughter well in school and maybe by the time she is ready for college, the “tide” will have turned.

  7. avatarAnonymouse says:

    The first step for real security is to know your actual risks… Your daughter will be vastly more in danger from alcohol on campus, driving around campus, etc.

    Even major campuses in rather high crime neighborhoods (e.g. Berkeley) are remarkably safe from personal crime beyond the occasional mugging [1], and most of the muggers can be dissuaded by having your daughter “play” softball.

    I would worry not one whit about the campus gun policy, one way OR the other. It doesn’t matter if there is a strict “no guns” with metal detectors everywhere, or a “every student carries a Glock” policy.

    Worry about things that count: when visiting campuses, walk Frat Row on a Friday night, because that is the danger your daughter will face.

    [1] Theft is another story. Laptops have a tendency to evaporate…

    • avatarST says:

      The first step for real security is to know your actual risks… Your daughter will be vastly more in danger from alcohol on campus, driving around campus, etc.

      *****************************************************************
      Whether the university condones it or not there will be booze on campus.Prohibition didn’t work very well in the 1920′s, and in 2012 it still doesn’t work.
      ****************
      Even major campuses in rather high crime neighborhoods (e.g. Berkeley) are remarkably safe from personal crime beyond the occasional mugging [1], and most of the muggers can be dissuaded by having your daughter “play” softball.

      *************************************************************

      Bull.

      The University of Chicago campus is located in a part of down so dangerous I had reservations traveling there during the DAYTIME.I had friends from Loyola-a $40,000 per year university- who have to walk down a dark alley to a Red Line L train station that looks like the film set for Serpico. If a college student sets foot 1 inch off campus to catch a train and gets assaulted, that crime isn’t counted to the University itself. Even in South Dakota, the cops to this day are looking for someone who’s been breaking into campus apartments & watching young women sleep. Laptops, cars, and property are insured and can be replaced easily. Being killed in a home invasion or spree shooting has more permanent consequences.

      *************************************************************

      I would worry not one whit about the campus gun policy, one way OR the other. It doesn’t matter if there is a strict “no guns” with metal detectors everywhere, or a “every student carries a Glock” policy.

      ***************************************************

      In a college where every student carries a Glock, the students can focus on their studies instead of wondering whether today is the day some nutcase will walk in with a Kalashnikov and a death wish.

      Frat Row? The Greek organizations are the last places anything criminal on campus is going to take place. We live in litigious times, and the days of Animal House antics are long dead and gone. A Greek house which pulled half that many stunts would be sued out of operation with its student leadership expelled & jailed.

      • avatarNot Too Eloquent says:

        Your scenarios are nice and melodramatic, but the ability to carry on campus is so low on my wish list of colleges for my kids that it’s laughable. Every day we face numerous non-gun risks. A lot of you guys stuff your bodies full of cholesterol and cigarette smoke daily and then fantasize about the imminent risks of a nut job with an AK and then project the fear of not being able to control every situation onto your kids.

        • avatarJarhead1982 says:

          Funny how we can site instances of self defense working in gun free zones and you only have a mythical boogeyman to project your fears at, go figure!

  8. avatarElliotte says:

    I am not certain, but I thought I read that Utah allowed CC on campus with a permit. Some other options would be to look into states that have Constitutional Carry, they might be more willing to allow carry on campus and possibly even carry for folks aged 18-21.

    • avatarUtahLibertarian says:

      Technically, OC is legal on campus here, but some schools will try to get you for disorderly conduct. But, yeah, CC is legal at all state universities for 21+ with a CFP. Some argue a Maine permit (available at 18) is legal, too, some say no. Any carry is against the rules at BYU (a private school), but not against the law, and I’m pretty sure it’s not strictly enforced there.

      So send her out here. There are party schools and decidedly non-party schools depending on which you prefer.

      • avatarTR says:

        I’m currently a student at BYU, and although I have no idea whether or not the weapons policy is strictly enforced (I haven’t wanted to risk finding out personally), I have read it and actually spoken to the chief of police enough to know that there’s plenty of teeth in the policy to make my life very miserable, should they decide to enforce it. I know there are a lot of us who would carry here if we could, but so far it’s a no-go. The problem I run into most often is the belief that guns don’t belong in school. And I agree. Guns have no place in school, provided you can make sure that NOBODY can bring a gun in or around the school. Since BYU and other universities don’t take it to that level, guns definitely belong at school. I am drafting a letter to the powers that be voicing my concerns. We’ll see if it even makes it up the chain of command.

  9. avatarKevin says:

    Every school is required by federal law to disclose all crimes on campus or in university owned buildings off campus. It’s available somewhere on their web site. For some schools it’s not that helpful, if most students live in outside housing and university buildings are scattered across town, but for a lot of schools it is.

    • avatarMadDawg J says:

      That is exactly why many schools push victims to drop charges or not file them to begin with.

  10. avatargreat unknown says:

    One way or another, the civil liberties climate will change drastically over the next four years. While as a father I also agonized over the future of my children [who are now going through the same thing regarding their children], I think we have to worry about the survival of constitutional government in this country first. After that, everything is cake…

  11. avatarJack Petersen says:

    It’s true, if you have a permit you can carry concealed on Utah state owned campuses, but you can’t get a permit unless you’re 21. So maybe by the time she’s a senior…

  12. avatarbob says:

    She badder than a 3 year old.

  13. avatarJeff O. says:

    Colt Firearms College of Fine Arts & Business – Now there’s a school I’d go back and get a Master’s degree at!

  14. avatarKelly Adams says:

    Just recently Georgia has extended our castle doctrine to include cars on campus. so at 18 you could put her shotgun/deer rifle in the car. at least she would be able to have an armed retreat point.

  15. avatarJJ Swiontek says:

    Come visit Colorado. You and your daughter might like it.

    From 18 to 20, for conceal-carry, mace, stun-gun, and situatitional awarness. I would have suggested hairspray and a lighter but that would be crass. Colorado is also an open-carry state (except for Denver, Boulder, and parts of Gilpin county). [Don't ask why.]

  16. avatarFred says:

    I sympathize Brad and can relate. I see no point in teaching my young daughter how to shoot for real/defensive – or for that matter, to teach myself, other than as a hobby, as right now, no one can get a CCW permit in my SoCal county unless you are a:

    1) Reserve LEO
    2) politician or
    3) Employee of an established business able to certify you need it, and bond you.

    “Personal Self Defense” is a not sufficient justification unless you have a documented threat, in writing.

    Yes, you have to get hurt, or threatened, before you can apply.

    And since our Governor Moonbeam signed the bill prohibiting Open Carry (unloaded), the only legal access to a handgun for self-defense is;
    at home, inside. Or someone attacks you at the range.

    I’ve concluded the best use of my time and money for both her
    (and my son and for myself) is this-

    Situational Awareness,
    Cross-country Running,
    Pepper-Spray, and
    Krav Maga.

    Maybe “Verbal Judo” –
    any LEOs or anyone else here who has taken it, that can opine?

  17. avatarPWolf says:

    If you live on campus, I wonder what the difference is between a college campus and Washington, D.C.

  18. avatarFrankInFL says:

    “States’ rights” is a misnomer. States don’t have rights. –People– have rights.

    States (including the federal state) have powers granted to them by the people via documents called “constitutions”.

    No, states –shouldn’t– have different laws about guns. The 2nd amendment says “shall not be infringed”, and it is The Law Of The Land (http://dispatchesfromheck.blogspot.com/2010/04/how-to-write-decision-in-mcdonald-v.html).

    • avatarBrad Kozak says:

      Actually, that’s only about half right – no pun intended.

      Originally, the United States was formed by the 13 American Colonies, which became the first 13 States in the Union. Our first Constitution – the Articles of Confederation – was such a weak document, it failed. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 was originally tasked with “fixing” the Articles. The delegates quickly realized it wasn’t ‘fixable.’ So they started over.

      The term “States Rights” alludes to the “skin” each state has in the game, for they were originally autonomous governments. The Constitution had some very explicit separations of powers that went far beyond those between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches. Before the Progressive movement took hold in the U.S. around 1900, the Senate was the States’ representatives in the Federal government. That’s why Senators were appointed by State Legislatures. It gave the State governments a very real voice in Federal matters. Combine that with the Tenth Amendment (“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”) and you have a clear picture of how the Federal government (originally) had handcuffs, limiting it’s actions to some very specific rights granted it by We the People.

      Problem is, the Progressive Movement was against this balance of power. They wanted a government that would be far more active in creating and enforcing laws for what they felt was the “common good.” They believed that the Constitution, as originally designed, prevented that. (And they were right.) So they passed the 17th Amendment, which changed the election of Senators to the popular vote. That took away the right of the States to be represented in Congress, and began a long, slow devolution of our rights in general. Think of it as each state legislature holding a leash connected to the Federal government. When those leashes were severed, the Federal government began growing by leaps and bounds, becoming the out-of-control monster that it is today.

      The Constitution is designed to protect our BASIC rights – like the right to own a gun for self-defense. But the States have ALWAYS had the right to enact laws that vary from state to state. It’s what makes our government unique. Each state is like a Petri dish for laws – some good, some bad. Without that, you’d never have seen Conceal Carry laws spread, like wildfire, from Florida, across the nation.

      While I am in complete agreement with you that no state should have the right to abridge our freedoms in any respect, the Constitution was designed so that We the People granted some powers to the Feds, some to the States, and kept the rest for ourselves. That way, each state can craft laws that serve the needs of their own citizens, regardless of what another state may want to do. I see nothing wrong with that.

  19. avatarjoe says:

    Totally smart to put a picture of your 14yr old daughter on the good old world wide web….way to go dad!

    • avatarBrad Kozak says:

      Why? She’s got a Facebook page. And her images are all over that. Privacy is a myth. Security is not. And I don’t believe in living in fear or in hiding from the world.

  20. avatarJake Tallman says:

    Not sure what she’ll want to study, but I’m attending Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, CO. VERY small school (2200 students or so). Liberal arts (yeah, yeah, I know, but I’m not studying that useless BS, so there’s that….) and currently, campus security fully supports the right of students who have CHL’s to carry. They don’t openly encourage it (we have a lot of students from the front range; Denver, Boulder, etc., and you know what the gun culture is like in major metropolitan areas….), but I’ve had a number of conversations with Nathan (the head of C-Sec), and he is absolutely thrilled that students can carry. There’s about 15 faculty that he knows of who carry full time, and plenty of students. It’s also a big time hunting/farming community, so guns are very much a part of the culture in the Gunnison Valley. For example, there’s no more than 12,000 people in the valley, and there are three stores that I know of that sell firearms (a local sporting goods store with an impressive hunting section, a hunting store, and a gun shop). There’s also a local gun club that is excellent and cheap to be a member of.

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