Concealed Carry on Campus
Katy Steinmetz responds in the comments to my post about concealed carry:
The point is that carrying guns around is not justified on the basis that it is a personal freedom; it is justified when exercising that personal freedom can help achieve the end of self-defense, which, given the lack of danger on the MU campus, is not possible (outside of truly extraordinary circumstance) there.
In my worldview, people start out with personal freedoms and have to give some up when they harm others. So I agree with Steinmetz, for example, that we shouldn’t allow people to carry hand grenades around. Hand grenades are a danger, and giving up the freedom to carry them is a small price we pay to enjoy the benefits of civil society.
But guns are a different story. It’s possible to safely carry guns without threatening anyone else’s lives or property. That’s why Missouri, like most other states, allows concealed carry.
Steinmetz says that MU should be different from the rest of the state because of its low crime rate. I don’t think it makes sense to divide up the state into little areas and allow concealed carry in some but not in others. Crime can happen anywhere. Although as Steinmetz points out, school shootings are rare, we see that they have occurred. Opponents of concealed carry at MU argue that the campus police is enough to deal with those rare events, but campus police wasn’t able to prevent the tragedies at Virginia Tech and other schools.
Suppose we were to follow Steinmetz’s reasoning to its logical conclusion and permit concealed carry only on streets with high annual crime rates. (On streets with lower crime rates, crime is a rare event that we shouldn’t legislate based on.) And suppose a murder takes place on my street this month, on a nearby street the next month, on an adjacent street the month after that, and so on. No one would be allowed to carry guns because no particular street would have a high enough crime rate. Steinmetz could argue that my street just had that one murder a while back, so concealed carry isn’t justified on that street. And the next street over also had one murder, so we shouldn’t allow concealed carry on that street either. This is not the approach Missouri law takes to the Second Amendment — it allows concealed carry throughout the state, regardless of the statistical likelihood of crime in individual counties and neighborhoods.
For more on concealed carry and self-defense, I recommend listening to Marcus Bowen’s arguments in this podcast.