“To say that this legislation goes against everything we want in our academic institution is an understatement. We chose to seek higher education because we want to solve the world’s problems with our words and our ideas, not with guns and violence.”
Those are the words of a group of 150 students and faculty members of West Virginia University in Morgantown. They’re in a tizzy over the West Virginia legislature’s consideration of house bill that would legalize campus carry, allowing students of the state’s universities who have concealed carry permits to fully exercise their Second Amendment rights.
The 150 scholars who issued this desperate cri de coeur weren’t terribly original. All they could manage to object to adults carrying concealed weapons were the same tired, hysterical claims that have been raised everywhere else concealed carry has been legalized on college campuses. All of which have proved unfounded.
Inviting guns into our classrooms will fundamentally change how our education system works. We are such a diverse group of students at WVU, and we’ve excelled at welcoming the views and perspectives of people from a wide array of backgrounds. How are we supposed to continue to voice our controversial ideas, to challenge one another in thought and practice if we know that the person we are engaging with may be wearing a weapon?
Oh, and if the campus carry bill were to pass, they tell us it would, of course, disparately impact various minorities and other marginalized groups and individuals. Somehow.
Furthermore, how can we ask the most vulnerable of us — our peers of color, our peers with intellectual and physical differences, our peers from other cultures and countries, our peers who have experienced trauma at the hands of guns yet have sought academia as a place to challenge their minds in safety — to continue to engage with us in sometimes passion-filled discourse if they cannot be certain weapons will not be in the room?
We won’t bore you with the whole tiresome tirade.
Meanwhile, at the capitol in Charleston, the debate in the House of Delegates regarding HB 2519 hasn’t been much better. Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer wanted her fellow legislators to know that these are helpless
“We are talking about our children,” she said. In this case, college kids away from home for the first time and not necessarily always entirely stable.
There’s no word on whether Delegate Fleischauer would also advocate raising the minimum age for military service because 18-year-old enlistees — like their cousins on campus — are simply too fragile and unstable to handle the whole experience.
…Delegate Marshall Wilson, R-Berkeley, said 333 campuses have adopted campus carry and have seen no deaths, assaults or suicides as a result. He additionally read a letter from a young woman raped on campus who chose to get trained and carry a gun to defend herself.
As you can see by the climate at Marshall University in Huntington, silly things like the statistics cited by Delegate Berekely aren’t likely to sway many opinions.
— Jana Tigchelaar (@JanaTigchelaar) February 21, 2019