Oklahoma House Votes to Allow Firearms on Campus

Here is the article. I will post why I think this is a good idea after the article.

Bill Allowing Guns on College Campuses Approved by House in Oklahoma

Friday , March 14, 2008

AP

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OKLAHOMA CITY  —

Legislation that would allow concealed weapons on college campuses in Oklahoma was approved by the state House Thursday despite opponents who said putting more guns on campus makes no sense following recent massacres at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University. “This has to be the craziest thing I have ever seen,” said Rep. Ray McCarter, D-Marlow, one of several lawmakers who said the measure is opposed by college administrators and most Oklahomans but is supported by the National Rifle Association.

“How silly can we be to represent 10 percent of our constituency, the fringe out there,” McCarter said. “Represent your constituency. Don’t be afraid of the National Rifle Association.”

The measure by Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, authorizes active-duty military and National Guard and reserve personnel, honorably discharged veterans and others with firearms training certified by the Council on Law Enforcement Education who hold a state concealed weapons license to carry guns on college and university campuses.

The legislation, approved 65-36, is more narrow than Murphey’s original proposal, which would have allowed anyone at least 21 years old with concealed handgun carrying rights to carry weapons on campus. That version was similar to a Utah law.

House members also voted 91-9 for a measure by Rep. Jerry Ellis, D-Valliant, that lowers from 21 to 18 the age of active-duty military, National Guard and reserve personnel as well as veterans who can be licensed to carry a concealed weapon.

Murphey said his bill is a “commonsense step” to expand Oklahoma’s concealed weapons law to combat campus violence.

“The concealed carry law is about 12 years old. It’s worked out very well,” Murphey said. He said more than 60,000 Oklahomans are licensed to carry concealed weapons and there has been no widespread gun violence in the state, which opponents had warned of.

Supporters argued that the measure would make college campuses safer by putting guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens.

Rep. Colby Schwartz, R-Yukon, said someone with a concealed weapon might be the only person in a classroom who can protect himself and others from an attacking gunman.

“When seconds matter the police are just minutes away,” said Rep. Rex Duncan, R-Sand Springs.

“Our kids are not safe,” said Rep. Shane Jett, R-Tecumseh. Last year, a lone gunman killed 32 students and faculty members at Virginia Tech before taking his own life. Last month, five students were killed by a gunman at a campus lecture hall at Northern Illinois.

“If the campuses are not providing the right protection, then they have the right to protect themselves,” Jett said.

But opponents said the measure could have the opposite effect.

“Are we going to make students more safe or less safe with more guns on campus?” said Rep. Bill Nations, D-Norman, whose district includes the University of Oklahoma.

Rep. Ann Coody, R-Lawton, said she believes in the 2nd Amendment right to carry firearms.

“I’m also a firm believer in safety,” Coody said. She said most voters she has talked to are opposed to the proposal.

“They’re afraid for their children who are students on the campus,” Coody said.

A task force that studied campus security in Oklahoma considered a recommendation to ban weapons from campuses except those used by campus security and military science classes and in the vehicles of people with concealed weapons permits. But the recommendation did not make it into the final report.

Murphey said he had not polled college campus presidents to determine how they felt about the measure.

Murphey’s bill would require people authorized to carry a concealed handgun to provide written notice to the university or college president prior to bringing a gun on campus. It would not limit a university’s ability to restrict concealed weapons from access-controlled areas where people are subject to security checks.

Murphey’s bill, House Bill 2513, now goes to the Senate for action.

An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”

   -Robert A. Heinlein

There are people who saw the title of this blog and images of the old west, campus massacres, and irresponsible college students flashed through their mind all at the same time. Odds are many of these people did not grow up around guns, are unfamiliar with guns, and may never have even handled an actual gun. So, let me explain why I believe this is a good idea.

1. The police, campus safety, etc. are inherently reactionary. They will most likely never be on the scene quick enough to actually prevent a campus shooting. By the time they mobilize their resources, a Virginia Tech like massacre could already be completed.

2. The founders of this country understood that government could not and should not be everywhere at once which is one reason why we have a 2nd Amendment. An armed citizenry is the best defense against crime.

3. I have known many people who have concealed handgun licenses. The vast majority of these people are mature and responsible. Many are in the military or are retired military. Nearly all have grown up around guns.

I grew up on a farm and was shooting guns when I was about 8 years old. My Dad bought me my my first hunting rifle before my 10th birthday. Some of my fondest memories are when uncles and cousins came over to visit and we would go out shooting together. I say that to illustrate that the reason why most people are uncomfortable with guns is simply that they are unfamiliar with them. Guns are nothing to be afraid of when handled properly. The people who have CHL’s will know how to handle guns properly.

This law is a great idea and I wish that more states would enact laws like this. One thing I can guarantee you: the first campus shooting that is prevented or cut short by a responsible citizen carrying a handgun will change the way we think about allowing guns on campus.

Why wait for another tragedy to strike. Oklahoma is taking a proactive action by passing this bill. The state is proving that it really does take the safety of students seriously and acknowledes that police can’t be everywhere at once. Parents and students should be able to rest easier knowing that when little Johnny goes to class, should some nut job run into the room and start firing a gun, that somewhere in the class room is a responsible student with a CHL who can stop the killing before it starts.

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4 thoughts on “Oklahoma House Votes to Allow Firearms on Campus

  1. What is the percentage of OU students who fit the requirements set forward by the bill? 2%? 5%?

    Per classroom, how many students would:

    1) Carry a concealed weapon?

    2) Be in a room where the potential ‘nut job’ (a relative term, considering the ramifications of the bill and arguments presented by the people supporting it…) starts their shooting spree?

    3) Have the nerve and training to draw down, remove safety, fire accurately and actually hit the gunman, as opposed to the instructor or fellow students?

    My guess is that you’re looking at maybe 1 percent of the total campus population. Let’s take that 1 percent and have them psychologically screened, send the data to the House and Senate, and then see if they’re still gung ho about the idea of arming students on campus.

    As to the argument that somehow the knowledge that a potential gunman could be gunned down themselves by a student with a concealed carry license, historically speaking, the gunman doesn’t care – he usually ends up taking his own life as well.

    This is a stupid idea with no research backing it up.

    If you or anyone else has data to support this decision, let’s see it.

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