Editorial: Gun groups gone wrong

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  • Editorial: Gun groups gone wrong

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Editorial: Gun groups gone wrong

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Aug. 20, 2007

Anytime a tragedy occurs we ask ourselves how it could have happened and how it can be prevented from ever happening again. So in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre, gun rights advocates began calling for the repealing of bans on carrying concealed weapons on school campuses.

The national organization of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus is one such group. There are eight chapters of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus in Texas, the most of any state.

Current Texas law forbids the carrying of concealed weapons in places like school campuses, places of worship and government property -- even if a person is licensed to carry.

Arlington senior Andrew Sugg, head of Baylor's SCCC chapter, seeks to make it possible for students to arm themselves at Baylor.

Groups like these have to use circular logic to reach their conclusions. Because a deranged individual brought guns onto campus, Sugg and others believe they should be allowed to bring theirs in order to protect themselves.

What the gun lobby conveniently forgets is that the mental history of Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho should have prevented him from ever obtaining a gun in the first place. Cho's mental history was recognized by a Virginia court in 2005, and due to inconsistencies between federal and state law, he was not entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

The problem is not with the laws, but with the ability of the system to work properly. If it did, Cho would not have been able to purchase a gun and the conversation may not have gone in this direction.

While it is clear that the response time of Virginia Tech's campus police was inadequate, this does not mean we should allow anyone who has gone through a criminal history check and a safety course to be a substitute for law enforcement. This vigilante attitude of circumventing the responsibility of law enforcement could potentially create many serious problems.

The majority of people who receive licenses to carry concealed weapons are responsible individuals, but they do not receive nearly the same level of training to handle situations that police do.

Although they do not receive the same amount of press coverage as a school shooting, accidents involving guns are far more common. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 776 accidental deaths and 75,685 injuries from firearms in 2001. It would be naïve to say that if bans on guns at these locations are repealed, there would be no accidents as a result.

The purpose of banning concealed weapons in certain places is because the state has a responsibility to ensure the safety of its citizens in those locations.

How wise would it be to allow someone to carry a concealed weapon to a stadium? A church? Better yet, how about an airport? Baylor police chief Jim Doak was quoted in Baylor Line magazine saying it would be "unwise" to lift campus bans. We couldn't agree more.

Baylor SCCC has good intentions at heart -- making campus safer. But before we arm ourselves, there are other steps we can take that are both easier to implement and less double-edged.

One step is to have better emergency planning. School lockdowns for threats are commonplace at our nation's high schools -- the capacity for emergency response should be no different in colleges.

Another step is to better enforce the laws and have tighter background checks. Too many loopholes in state and federal laws are allowing people who shouldn't be able to, to get guns.

Even if state laws are changed, Baylor as a private institution has the right to ban concealed weapons on its own. We hope it continues to keep its rules in place, even if state schools allow concealed carry on their campuses.

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Original Source: The Lariat
<a href="http://www.baylor.edu/Lariat/news.php?action=story&story=46387">http://www.baylor.edu/Lariat/news.php?action=story&story=46387</a>

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Baylor Editorial

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2008-02-05

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Kacey Beddoes

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Julie Freeman (Julie_Freeman@baylor.edu)

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eng

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Baylor Editorial, "Editorial: Gun groups gone wrong," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1651, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/1651 (accessed October 31, 2014).