Opinion: Guns on a college campus is crazy, but now legal

(AP)

Gov. Nathan Deal knows it’s wrong. He knows it’s dangerous. But because he was no longer willing to take the political heat, he has now signed into law a bill that allows concealed weapons onto Georgia college campuses.

Now we’ll deal with the consequences, whatever they turn out to be.

Advocates of HB 280 offer two rationales for its enactment, neither of which makes a lick of sense. They also offer two alleged safeguards, and again, neither holds up under even the slightest scrutiny. Let me explain why:

Rationale Number One: “We have a Second Amendment right to carry weapons on a college campus.”

No, you don’t. There is no Second Amendment right to carry a gun on a college campus. None. Anybody who makes that claim demonstrates ignorance of the law and the Constitution they claim to hold sacred. It is not even a matter of debate.

The most conservative, gun-friendly Supreme Court justice in memory, the late Antonin Scalia, a man who later died on a hunting trip, writing for the majority in the most conservative-friendly gun ruling in Supreme Court history, District of Columbia v. Heller, made that as explicit as possible:

“The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.”

Pay attention to that wording, because Scalia was a scrupulous wordsmith and he paid attention in its drafting.  He goes out of his way to erase any doubt that such restrictions are and remain constitutional, that there is NO constitutional right to carry weapons in such places.

Rationale Number Two: “Allowing concealed weapons on campus will make people safer.”

No. It won’t.

“I just think back to when I was in college and you know, the amount of alcohol that flows there, I just don’t see that there is an upside to this,” Atlanta Police Chief Erika Sheilds told Denis O’Hayer of NPR. “I just think this really has the potential to really not be good.”

“This is a mistake,” says Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress, whose mission includes protecting the 11,000 students at Valdosta State University.  “It defies all of the logic and the data.”

We all know the “reasoning:” If a bad guy comes on a college campus, a “good guy” will be there with a concealed weapon to take care of the situation.¹ And that kind of thing does happen. According to nationwide FBI data, in 2015 there were 268 cases of justifiable homicide with a firearm, defined as “the killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen.”

I have no sympathy for those dead criminals. I’m fine with all that. I’m a lot less fine with the more than 140 children killed annually in gun negligence and accidents, or with the 9,616 people who were murdered with guns in 2015, or the more than 20,000 annual suicides with firearms. Tote up both sides of the ledger and tell me how it balances out.

Furthermore, in a mass shooting incident on a college campus, law-enforcement officers do not want to worry which gun-toting civilian on the scene is the perpetrator and which is some hapless amateur trying to play John Wayne.

“My chief concern is I’m going to have cops shooting the wrong people,” as Childress put it in a Valdosta press conference.

“They’re (police officers) all going to converge on the university campus. Now, you have a bunch of police officers with guns and what will they be faced with? Untrained, unprepared students who have nothing to do with the situation,” Childress explained. “I love these officers and it’s hard enough on them already. I’m telling you, if this bill passes, it’s going to turn into the OK Corral.”

Safeguard Number One: “The new law only applies to those with a Georgia concealed weapon permit, and they know what they’re doing.”

Well whoopy-ding.

Under Georgia law, you don’t need any sort of firearms training to obtain a weapons permit. You don’t have to demonstrate knowledge of even the most basic rudiments of gun safety. You don’t need to know how to shoot, you don’t need to know how to store a weapon safely, and you surely don’t need training in how to confront an armed opponent without endangering innocent lives. In other words, this supposed reassurance is almost meaningless.

In addition, if a law enforcement officer spots someone carrying a concealed weapon on campus or anywhere else, Georgia law explicitly forbids the officer from stopping that person and demanding to see a concealed weapons permit. That makes the requirement almost unenforceable. Georgia law-enforcement protested loudly against that provision when it was proposed, for obvious reasons. Their complaints failed. A bill was introduced in the Legislature this year to strike that provision; it went nowhere.

Safeguard Number Two: “The new law continues to ban weapons at college sporting events, student housing, faculty offices and disciplinary hearings.” 

It is impossible to take such restrictions seriously because the legislation itself does not do so.

Under the law, the punishment imposed on a permit holder who brings a concealed weapon into a gun-restricted area of campus is a whopping $25 fine, and I don’t know any way to interpret that other than as a sign of basic disrespect, a message to authorities that the violation is not to be taken seriously or seriously enforced.

If you park your car in the wrong place on campus, or if you walk across a street at the wrong place, you will pay a much bigger fine than if you illegally carry a concealed, loaded weapon into a restricted zone. There is no deterrent effect whatsoever in a $25 fine; it is instead a deterrence to enforcement and prosecution. That’s not by accident; that is by design of those who drafted the bill.

And this won’t be the end of it. Georgia already has one of the weakest set of gun laws in the country, but the gun lobby will always needs a new target, a new way to convince its supporters that they are being subject to cruel governmental persecution. In recent years it has convinced its members that they suffer great damage to their God-given liberty when they can’t take a loaded weapon into a bar, a church, a park and now a college campus. Next year it will be something else.

In fact, gun groups have made it clear that their ultimate goal is the grossly misnamed “constitutional carry,” allowing everybody to carry weapons openly with no background check or permit required. If that sounds like a ridiculous goal, 10 years ago it sounded ridiculous that we would allow guns on campus.

———————-

¹  The religious-like fervor of that belief can be stunning. For example, after Dylann Roof murdered eight people in a South Carolina church, including its pastor, an NRA national board member blamed the pastor for the deaths. “Eight of his church who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are now dead,” wrote Charles Cotton. “Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue.”

If that rhetoric sounds crazy, it is. But it is also what has given us HB 280.

 

UPDATE: The commenting function has now been restored. If you are unable to post, please log out of your account and then log back in. That should resolve the problem.

 

 

 

Reader Comments 0

1784 comments
Gmare
Gmare

Just watched President Obama's speech from last night. WOW!

HDB_0329
HDB_0329

REPUBLICANS FEAR LOSS IN GEORGIA: McClatchy reports that Republicans are now seriously pondering the possibility that Democrat Jon Ossoff could beat Karen Handel in the special election for a House seat in the Atlanta suburbs:


[A loss] would harden the narrative that Republicans face a daunting task in maintaining control of Congress in 2018. It would also underscore the challenges facing Republicans running in districts Donald Trump either lost or, as is the case in Georgia, barely won … interviews with a half-dozen Republican operatives and strategists familiar with the race reveal a recognition that Democrats have enthusiasm on their side.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/05/08/the-health-bill-is-a-total-disaster-thats-why-republicans-keep-lying-about-it/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-f:homepage/story&utm_term=.827eb83c3100



....the plot thickens.......

honested
honested

@HDB_0329 

She could always accept the Debate invitation. Then she could amaze us with her tremendous intelligence.....

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

TBS
TBS

But we need to know more info about his dad

That's the most important issue at this point

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@HDB_0329 

An Ossoff win would add weight to the "common knowledge" narrative of a huge anti-Trump backlash in 2018. 

It would give people permission to vote Democratic, IMO.

honested
honested

@Menace @Citizen-of-the-World @honested @HDB_0329 

Not to mention, how would she defend her 'vast experience in public service'.

I seem to remember November when some pointed to a 'flawed candidate'. Boys and girls, here we have the definition of a 'flawed candidate'.

Kamchak
Kamchak

Venezuela?

I just luv, LUV, LUVS me some Venezuela!

Morning, noon and night, it is all I can talk about!

It's always Venezuela this and Venezuela that and how much I LUVS me some of that sweet, sweet Venezuela!

Menace
Menace

@Kamchak  No, you're thinking vuvuzela - the horn from the South African WC.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Menace

Don't you mean, "that incredibly annoying horn from the South African WC"?   

Menace
Menace

@Kamchak @Menace  Still have a couple in the closet.  Not annoying if you're on the mouthpiece end.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Menace

Just two more wins and we can wrap it up.

An incredible turn around from last year's disastrous season.

I credit Conte.   

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Menace

The Red Devils are the team to love, or the team you love to hate, but I wouldn't wish Mourinho on any one.   

Menace
Menace

@Kamchak @Menace  We're sort of like the Dallas Cowboys of the EPL.  The only worse would be if Blank hired him.  Doubtful tho' - think ATL Uni has the Man.  Once we get it together and Josef gets healthy we'll be back on track.  Kenwyn Jones is a beast, but, he doesn't appear to have the same speed.

skydog12
skydog12

I`ve seen many people saying that you can insult Trump and he can take it. They say what he cannot handle is someone talking bad about his business, much less getting in the way of him making $money$.


What happens when terrorist start targeting his properties around the world? It would not take many attacks to kill his business. 


He will go nuts.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Can one of jay's crew tell me what Maduro's fighting FOR in Venezuela? 

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@FIGMO2 

What is he fighting for? 

Don't ask me I don't give a damn... 

h/t Country Joe McDonald

gotalife
gotalife

trump ignored all warnings so now he must pay the price.

gotalife
gotalife

No Senate health care bill till after the mid terms.


The house is out on the ledge.


Obamacare is still the law.

honested
honested

@gotalife 

And the healthcare finance for at least 24 million Americans is safe until after the House gets cleaned in 2018!

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@gotalife 

Great idea, Got! 

The republicans already made the argument and set the precedent for us, with the SC nomination.  Let the voters have a say in this extremely important issue - hold it up until after the next election!

skydog12
skydog12

Trump is saying Flynn was vetted by the Obama administration, so he is their fault.


The Obama administration FIRED Flynn! 


When you are fired they take their shyte back, including all clearances.


Nobody is this stupid.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

BTW - did everybody notice that France holds elections on weekends, and every citizen is automatically registered to vote? 

I guess they're not into voter suppression, like some countries I could name...

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@Nick_Danger I wonder if they're into Gerrymandering the hell out of their districts among racial & economic lines?


My guess is they're not.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@gotalife @ScubaSteve @Nick_Danger  Even better than that for the Presidential election.  The first round was a few weeks ago with a bunch of candidates.  The top 2 had the runoff.  If they had used the US system, Macron would have won in the first round with 24%

honested
honested

@PaulinNH 

The slow realization there is no guarantee xtian white people have total control will be difficult for a certain portion of the electorate.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

"I don't think we should pass bills we haven't read and don't know what the cost will be."

- Paul Ryan 2009

skydog12
skydog12

@gotalife


Not unless they drive a wooden stake through his heart. The dude has vampire genes.

honested
honested

@gotalife 

Or, it could be the week he declares martial law, with the whole world not being 'very nice' to him and all.