Welcome to College; Check Your Personal Liberties at the Door
I always enjoy Katy Steinmetz’s excellent columns, but I think she misses the target in this piece arguing against concealed carry at the University of Missouri–Columbia. Here’s my summary of her main points, with comments:
- It’s a bad idea to legislate based on rare occurrences like school shootings. We should not adopt a risky policy in hopes of averting unlikely disasters.
I agree completely that panic over freak events (like the birth of octuplets) can prompt the creation of ill-considered policies. This just isn’t one of those cases. Steinmetz compares allowing guns at MU to allowing concealed hand grenades as a defense against sharks on the beach; I think that’s a stretch. We don’t allow hand grenades other places for good reason, and it would be foolish to make an exception for beaches because we’re scared of the occasional shark. In the case of guns, Missouri does permit concealed carry across the state. The proposal would change the law for MU to make it like the law for other parts of Missouri — hardly an instance of singling out MU for a departure from the norm.
- People who carry concealed weapons aren’t always the knights-in-shining-armor they claim to be. Saying that permit holders are nice because they don’t engage in public brawls is faint praise.
The fact is, most states do allow concealed carry, and it hasn’t led to those public brawls critics said it would. Permit holders’ restraint may not be sufficient evidence of heroic virtue, but it does indicate that concealed carry isn’t so risky as Steinmetz fears.
- People don’t need to carry guns at MU because the campus is very safe. Concealed carry advocates haven’t demonstrated that there’s anything to gain from changing the law.
There is something to gain: The personal freedoms that apply in other parts of the state would be upheld at MU as well. Why should MU be different?