Guns are part of America’s culture. They always have been, and as long as we abide by the Constitution of the United States and its adjoining Bill of Rights, they always will be. The Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
It is worth noting that this amendment marks the only place in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights where our Founding Fathers explicitly described something as “necessary to the security of a free state.” And this is because the right to keep and bear arms makes the exercise of so many other rights possible. For example, without guns, how are we to defend our lives, our property, or our freedom to speak our minds against a tyrannical government?
No wonder George Washington, the first president of the United States, said: “A free people ought to be armed.” He knew that to deny a people the right to arms was to deny them many other rights, and even freedom itself.
Yet as clear as our Founding Fathers were on the importance of gun ownership and gun usage, and the role both play in “the security of a free state,” liberals in the United States have spent the last few decades doing their best to destroy the Second Amendment all at once if possible, but piece by piece if necessary. Part of that attempt is now visible at Colorado State University (CSU) in Ft. Collins, Colorado, where that school’s Board of Governors recently voted to ban students who possess a viable concealed carry permit from carrying their legally concealed weapons on campus.
Although students have been allowed to carry a concealed weapon on the CSU campus since the passage of Colorado’s concealed carry law in 2003 — and although there have been absolutely no incidents of crime as a result of the exercise of that right — some faculty members, like associate professor Dan Turk, decided their campus would be safer if students were not allowed to carry guns.
How much safer can you get than zero incidents of crime resulting from concealed carry permit holders bringing their weapons on campus?
Moreover, the positive results of allowing students to carry guns on CSU’s campus have been undeniable. Whereas “there were 47 reported sexual offenses” on the CSU campus in 2002, the year before students were allowed to keep concealed weapons to defend themselves, “in 2008, there were [but] 2” such offenses. And according to David Burnett of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC), “[CSU] saw a similar drop in crime in virtually every other category after concealed carry became legal.”
Unabated by these facts, Richard Eykholt, chairman of CSU’s Faculty Council, decided to just make up his own. Therefore, he expressed his desire for a new concealed weapons ban by asserting that “most uses of weapons are in the heat of the moment where the person later regrets it.”
If Eykholt ever wants to actually know how most weapons are used in this country, he can read the crime statistics report the FBI releases each year. There he’ll not only learn that most guns aren’t used in the heat of the moment, he’ll also learn that they’re not even used in crime. Instead, most guns are used in self-defense.
For example, in 2004, the FBI’s annual report showed that guns were used 2.5 million times that year in self-defense. This means “firearms [were] used … 80 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives.” It also means Eykholt is wrong.
In light of these things, it appears that the only thing CSU’s Board of Governors accomplished by voting for this ban on December 4, 2009, is the creation a new gun-free zone where criminals can rest assured they’ll be the only ones carrying guns, should they want to commit a crime. And as Students for Concealed Carry on Campus’ Al Baker told me in a phone interview for this article: “Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, and Ft. Hood have all demonstrated just how vulnerable these gun-free zones render law abiding citizens.”
This is not lost on Jim Alderden, the sheriff of the county in which CSU is located. Alderden has made it clear that his department opposes the ban and will “not hold or detain a valid permit holder who violates [the ban], nor [will] his department have anything to do with enforcing that [ban].”
CSU’s student body government took a similar stand in early December, when the Associated Students of CSU voted 21-3 against the ban.
Since the particulars of the pending ban will not be finalized until next month (February 2010), let’s hope there’s still enough time to raise a public outcry and reverse this move toward denying CSU students the right to self-defense.