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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Editorial: Campus gun law aims for safety, misses target “

Our motto is “”bear down,”” not “”shoot to kill.””

Last week, the Arizona Legislature passed a bill that would allow university students and staff to carry open or concealed weapons on campus. Carrying would be limited to “”public rights of way,”” such as campus streets or roadways and not inside buildings, though the bill does not specifically define what a public right of way is. So students and teachers carrying guns would have to store them outside a building before entering, perhaps using a “”gun valet?”” It’s a good thing school shootings have never happened inside a building, like in a classroom or something.

“”We’re allowing people to defend themselves,”” said state Rep. David Gowan in a Reuters article. “”The purpose of carrying a gun with you is to defend yourself against that aggressor.””

The constitutional right to bear arms was written because, during the Revolutionary War, Americans had to use them to defend their homes and families. If the British attack the UA in a full frontal assault then yes, people should arm themselves. Otherwise, the “”aggressor”” that Gowan is waving around to build support is a puppet for inspiring paranoia. The hypothetical situations that gun enthusiasts rave about would be better left to professional law enforcement, not overeager vigilantes.

All three of Arizona’s university presidents have spoken out against guns on campus. The bill has been met with far-reaching opposition from students, faculty, staff and police officers.

One lawmaker described the bill as necessary because there isn’t a “”bubble”” that magically protects campuses. By that logic, let’s start arming priests and rabbis. Give doctors guns in the operating room. Every librarian should be packing heat.

Why stop at college campuses? Every middle school teacher should get a rifle and a pack of smokes. After all, you never know when terror will strike.

You can’t imagine the man singing hymns with a gun on in church? That’s probably because it would be as inappropriate as a gun on campus.

How dare legislators pass a law because they believe it best, without listening to the people who are most affected by it? University police officers, the ones who will have to respond to this shooting that lawmakers insist could happen at any moment, don’t want guns on campus. The defenseless professor isn’t clamoring to stock up on ammunition. And the students, those innocent and helpless targets, don’t want guns.

When someone walks down the UA Mall with a gun on his or her hip, our hearts will beat faster, adrenaline will pump and the thought won’t be “”Thank Brewer, I’m safe.”” It’ll be “”Holy son of a bill, is that guy going to shoot someone?”” Because what’s to stop him from walking up to a line of people outside of the Student Union Memorial Center and shooting them systematically with a gun? Thank goodness for the second someone who may have a gun to shoot them with. But then, maybe someone shoots the second shooter.

In the chaos, how would they know who opened fire first?

Furthermore, scenarios like this assume all people with a permit to carry a weapon are such good shots that their guns will never hit passersby on a campus of more than 39,000 students.

When will you learn that fire does not quench fire? What’s next? Guns in dorm rooms? Bad things happen in dorms, so residents should be able to defend themselves, right?

If it isn’t enough to argue that college students shouldn’t be afraid of guns, let’s keep in mind that college students are still really just kids learning how to be grown-ups away from Mom and Dad. Everyone does something dumb in college, and it’s probably fueled by alcohol. A lack of parental supervision, combined with a newfound ability to drink until they throw up two days’ worth of dinner doesn’t need the added element of a firearm.

Lawmakers and supporters of weapons on campus seem to envision potential campus shootings as a romanticized, Western movie. The bad guy will ride into town, there will be a glorious shootout, the hero wins and everyone gets a beer at the saloon. That isn’t real life.

 

— Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat editorial board and written by one of its members. They are Kristina Bui, Ken Contrata, Michelle A. Monroe and Heather Price-Wright. They can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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