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Thursday, June 2, 2016

The New York Times Takes Up Campus Carry Debate

On Monday, The New York Times opened up it's editorial space to four guest commentators to "debate" the topic of campus carry.  It was less a debate than it was each writer stating the reasons for their position.  One was rape victim Amanda Collins who wrote why she would have liked to have had her firearm on campus and there was a professor at the University of Texas who wrote that allowing firearms on campus will make them less safe and restrict academic freedom.  There was a recent college graduate who wrote opposing campus carry, and there was George Mason University Law Professor Nelson Lund who wrote in support of campus carry noting that campus police cannot prevent violent crimes.

You may have heard one of Ms. Collins' appearances on where she has discussed what happened to her and how campus rules disarmed her and left her defenseless.  She freely admits that she does not know what would have happened that night had she had her firearm; all she wanted was the chance to defend herself.

The Texas professor, Javier Auyero, uses the same tired reasons for opposing campus carry, namely that not only will it make campuses less safe but will "stifle classroom debate."  He claims that if the legislature had cared about basing their decision on "logical evidence based arguments" they would have listened to people like William H. McRaven, the chancellor of the University of Texas and a former Navy SEAL, and Art Acevedo, chief of the Austin Police Department because they both know "when there are more guns around, there is more risk – it’s as simple as that."  What Professor Auyero does not put forth is the "evidence" found in the state of Colorado from Colorado State University, where campus carry has been legal for years with no issues related to academic freedom. Independence Institute Director of Research wrote in 2009:
Yet, if one drives just a few hours north on Interstate 25 to Colorado State University, where licensed carry is allowed in classrooms, there has been no evidence of any diminution of academic freedom. Nor are there reports of any impairment of academic freedom at the nine public colleges and universities in Utah, at the three Blue Ridge campuses in Virginia, or in Israel, Thailand, or Norway.
In fact, Kopel continues, the only evidence of restrictions on academic freedom related to campus carry are on advocates of campus carry.

We know where the New York Times stands when it comes to the right to bear arms but they at least offered a balanced forum for advocates on both sides of this issue to state their case.  I recommend reading all four Op/Eds.

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