C-SPAN.org: Should Students Be Allowed to Carry Guns on College Campuses?

Students for Concealed Carry had their National Convention today. There were a range of different talks from victims of gun-free zones; a debate that I participated in with a representative of the Brady Campaign starts about 28 minutes into the clip and lasts for 50 minutes; some academics such as Nelson Lund, Bob Cottrol, and Jim Purtilo; and Alan Gura. The link to their video of the event is available here. The entire video is 3 hours and 32 minutes. I think that this convention went very well.

C-SPAN has placed this event at the top of its website page right now.

From Inside Higher Education: A D.C. Debate for Concealed Carry on Campuses
WASHINGTON -- A survivor of the Virginia Tech shootings and the author of a book advocating more gun ownership debated here Monday as part of a conference held by a group that favors broader access to weapons on campuses. The 2011 meeting of Students for Concealed Carry, which fell just just three days after false reports of a gunman at Virginia Tech evoked a mass shooting similar to the one in 2007 that left 33 people dead, including the gunman. Colin Goddard, who survived the Virginia Tech shootings and now works for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said that preventive measures like strengthening background check laws would be more effective than changing state laws to allow guns on campus, as several states have passed or are considering. John R. Lott Jr., the economist and gun rights advocate who wrote the book More Guns, Less Crime, argued that penalties tacked on for carrying a firearm on-campus or in so-called "gun-free zones" only deter noncriminals from carrying weapons, as most perpetrators of mass shootings either commit suicide or plan to, he said.

From the Chronicle of Higher Education: Activists and Politicians Discuss the Right to Carry Concealed Weapons on College Campuses

The gathering featured a debate between the conservative academic John R. Lott and Colin Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech slayings who is now assistant director of legislative affairs for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Mr. Lott said it is important to focus on the net effect of concealed guns in reducing campus attacks. Citing murder-rate statistics from Washington, D.C., and Chicago, two cities where Supreme Court decisions have overturned broad bans on gun ownership, he maintained that bans do not correspond to a lower incidence of violent crime, and he argued that traditional law-enforcement techniques do not deter individuals from committing multiple-victim public shootings.

"Rather than repelling crime by having these bans, you actually make it more attractive for criminals to commit these crimes because they have less to worry about," he said.

Mr. Goddard, who was shot four times during the Virginia Tech attack when he was a senior at the university, reflected on that experience and warned against limiting violence prevention to the "last possible second," when an attack is occurring.

Recounting the events of that day in 2007, Mr. Goddard told the audience that when the gunman burst into his classroom, shock prevented him from seeing the situation clearly. Not all students that day were "sitting ducks," though, he said.

Hypothetical statements implying that guns might have lowered the death toll were "offensive," Mr. Goddard said. Instead of pinpointing the moment when violence starts, he said, "we need to broaden our perspective, we need to look past that last second ... when we could have intervened." He suggested that preventive measures, such as stricter licensing requirements, mental-health checks, and improved campus security and emergency planning, would be a more effective approach.

"We should be proactive, not reactive," he said. . . .

From Human Events:

. . . The conference also featured a debate between John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, and Colin Goddard, a victim of the Virginia Tech shootings.

Lott, an economist, said after a hand gun ban goes into effect gun violence always increases. In the case of Washington’s handgun ban, gun violence by about 40 percent, even before the crack cocaine epidemic.

“It's not just DC and Chicago. You can look around the world. Time after time, you see increases after a gun ban goes into effect,” said Lott.

In the case of the Virginia tech shootings Lott said handgun bans on campus are not effective deterrents because being expelled from school is insignificant compared to multiple death penalties.

Lott said in most cases the attacker in a multiple victim shooting expects to be killed by police or plans to commit suicide.

Gun control laws do not work as deterrents, he said. “They do not perceive themselves as being around to have to face these consequences.”

Goddard said the severity of the Virginia Tech shooting was not due to the fact that it was a gun-free zone but because of too few gun restrictions and improper safety measures on campus.

He said it was not the simple matter choice gun advocates present: “Someone is going to come in that door and shoot you. Do you want a gun or not?”

The solution is to have more serious background checks of gun owners, he said.

“If you agree with the general statement, and I do, ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people” then you’ll agree that we need to be checking those people,” he said.

Then, with more serious background checks, the next steps are to share have a system in place for law enforcement agencies to share the background information.

In the case of the Virginia Tech shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, his background information had not been shared.

At that point, Lott, spoke up and said Goddard’s attacker had in fact passed the background check because he had not been involuntarily committed.

Here are youtube videos from my debate with Colin Goddard, the assistant director for legislative affairs at the Brady Campaign.

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Blogger Chas said...

"Should Students Be Allowed to Carry Guns on College Campuses?"

That's a terrible question because it singles out students and campuses. The question is, should Americans be allowed to carry guns for their self-defense in their daily lives? If we let the anti's balkanize us into this group and that, then their divide and conquer strategy will have worked. It's a broad question for the whole country, not a bunch of narrow little questions for one specific group after another and another. They mean to nickel and dime us out of our rights; we's shouldn't let them. It's the right of the people, generally, with the idea of equality being foremost.
We do not have a constitution that specifies particlar priveleges for particular social classes (we dispensed with the hierarchy of the nobility), so there is no point in debating whether or not the law applies to students. It applies to everyone. We call it "equality under the law".

8/09/2011 7:34 AM  

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