This is going to be a short one, because the only thing to say has been said many times before. If you’ve read any amount of my writing here, you have probably figured out what I think of “gun free zones.” If you haven’t, let me spell it out for you one more time, with feeling:
There is no such thing as a gun free zone.
It is a fantasy to believe that a sign translates into an actual absence of guns in a space where everyone has not been strip-searched…and maybe even if they have. I am very, very sorry…but if you actually believe that posting a sign means that there will be no guns in that area, then you are a fool. Or a University of Texas-El Paso professor. Not that that is mutually exclusive…
Of course, I am writing this in reaction to today’s mass murder at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, where early reports have at least 10 dead and possibly twice that number injured. Of course, early reports are almost always unreliable, and I am sure that many of the specifics are still unknown and will remain that way for at least 24 hours. My sincere prayers go out to those affected by today’s violence.
But we do know one thing for sure: Umpqua Community College is a “gun free zone”…at least on paper.
It was the lament of a friend on Facebook which prompted me into writing today. The comment was along the lines of, “guns are everywhere.” But the problem is that actually guns are not everywhere. Guns are not in the hands of law abiding citizens who happen to find themselves in a “gun free zone.” In such an environment, the only one with a gun is the criminal.
How’s that working out for you? I am personally sick and tired of hearing these stories of some sicko rampaging through a “gun free zone,” slaughtering innocents who are unable to fight back.
It is my most fervent hope that we can wake up to the reality that predators exist, and always have. As my friend Michael Bane says, “some people are broken.” I highly recommend you listen to his podcast here, where he discusses the 2011 mass murder in Norway if you believe otherwise. De-fanging and de-clawing ourselves will not make us safer from the killers circling us.
UPDATE (10/2/2015): Well, it appears that while Oregon law permits concealed carry on college campuses, the college itself still maintains a “no guns” policy with the qualifier, “except as expressly allowed by law.” What does that mean? I have to admit that I’m really not sure.
If the question is, “can a licensed concealed carry holder actually carry a concealed firearm on the campus and inside the buildings at Umpqua Community College?”…I don’t have a clear yes or no answer. There have been some issues in Oregon concerning campus carry that complicate the issue beyond a simple answer. If you want to read up on it yourself, I would point you to handgunlaw.us, and this article which discusses some of the confusion around the law.
I would submit to you that while the letter of state law may allow concealed carry, the college makes it very clear that it is unwelcome, and that seems to have had the desired effect. Still looks like a “gun free zone” to me.
Also notable is the fact that Oregon passed a bill calling for “expanded” background checks earlier this year. The bill, S.B. 941, was signed into law by the Governor in May, and went into effect on August 9th. The new law subjects all gun sales, including private, to a background check. There are apparently limited exemptions for transactions between family members and lending for purposes of hunting or target shooting.
Bottom line…none of this stopped a psychotic murderer. This is my shocked face…
— Dave Cole
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