Tell Me Again How Gun-Free Zones Are Safe And Crime Free

The gun prohibitionists argue banning guns in certain locations make them safer. They especially push this argument with regard to schools and universities. The argument against allowing firearms on university campuses is that college students are impulsive irresponsible drunks who would go around shooting up the place. At least that is the impression left by the Brady Center from their amicus brief in the case of D’Cruz* v BATFE (later renamed Jennings v BATFE).

So it was with interest that I read this notice sent out by the Western Carolina University Police Department last Wednesday.

WCU Police are investigating a report of an armed robbery that occurred at approximately 9:15pm this evening. Suspects are two white males and one black male. Armed with what appeared to be a semiautomatic handgun and a baseball bat. Occurred in the area of the old Brown cafeteria. Suspect #1 is described as a white male, mid 20’s, 5″8″, thin build, facial hair, white t-shirt, blue jeans, dark colored knit type hat, armed with a handgun. Suspect 2 is a white male, mid 20’s, no further description. Suspect 3 is a black male, mid 20’s 5’10”, thin build, dark t shirt. Suspects were last seen in the area of the Old Brown Cafeteria. Police are searching the campus for the suspects. Anyone with information is asked to call WCU PD at 828-227-8911. Thanks. University Police

Didn’t these miscreants know that the University of North Carolina and all its constituent institutions like WCU are supposed to be gun free? I’m sure the baseball bat was only for use in intramural games.

The only firearms allowed on campus are those of concealed carry permit holders which must be kept locked in their cars. And even that modest measure upsets the university’s administration.

So I would say to the university chancellors and police chiefs who were united in their opposition to any guns on campus, tell me again how gun-free zones are safe and crime-free.

* James D’Cruz, the original plaintiff, was demonized and vilified by the Brady Campaign. Josh Horwitz of CSGV even wrote he “sounds like a school shooter.” I wonder what they would make of the fact that James is now a first year law student at Harvard Law School.

Life In The Ivory Tower

The Faculty Senate at the university where I teach as an adjunct instructor is all bent out of shape by HB 937 which is being considered by the North Carolina House of Representatives. Section 2 of the bill would allow concealed carry holders and employees who live on campus to lock their handguns in their cars while on campus. Currently, North Carolina law makes it a felony to have a firearm on any university or community college campus.

The Faculty Senate wants to adopt a resolution supporting the continuance of the school as an official gun-free zone. Their resolution below makes it clear that they think it will make the university safer. As anyone who has attended any institution of higher learning will attest, professors live in their own (imaginary) world.

Resolution to Support the Prohibition against Possession of Firearms on Campus

Whereas, North Carolina State code § 14‑269.2, “Weapons on campus or other educational property” prohibits the possession of firearms on campus, and

Whereas, the North Carolina Legislature has introduced House Bill 937 that would allow individuals with concealed-carry permits to bring guns onto UNC and other college and university campuses, thus removing the prohibition against the possession of firearms on campus, and

Whereas, in 2010, the Western Carolina University (WCU) Faculty Senate passed a Resolution for Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus (April 7, 2010; passed by electronic vote: 26 Yes, 1 No, 0 Abstaining), and

Whereas, on April 29, 2013, UNC President Thomas Ross released a statement noting his concerns with HB 937 and encouraging the General Assembly “ remove the provision that would allow guns to be brought onto UNC and other college and university campuses” (See President Ross’ statement* below.)

Therefore, the WCU Faculty Senate resolves to:

  1. Restate its support for the 2010 WCU Faculty Senate resolution against guns on campus, and
  2.  Show support for President Ross’ April 29, 2013 statement in opposition to House Bill 937 in which he expressed serious concerns as indicated below*, and
  3. Encourage the NC General Assembly to remove the provision in HB 937 that would allow firearms on campus.

*April 29, 2013 Statement Released by University of North Carolina President Ross:

“We have an obligation to provide a safe environment for our students and employees, and every UNC campus has a trained police force charged with promoting the safety of all people who come onto our campuses. All UNC Chancellors and Chiefs of Police believe allowing guns on campus would increase the risk to public safety and hamper our ability to protect not only our students, staff ,and faculty, but also campus visitors, including parents, siblings of students, and summer camp participants. Vehicle break-ins are one of the leading crimes on college campuses, and even guns brought lawfully onto campus, as contemplated by this bill, could fall into the wrong hands and result in serious injury or death.

“In addition, a number of UNC campuses house early college high schools, middle schools, or summer camps for younger children. The presence of these young people further heightens our concerns about the safety risks that come with guns getting into the wrong hands. Moreover, when responding to an armed robbery or active shooter incident, our officers would often be hard pressed to distinguish between a criminal suspect and well-intentioned bystanders with weapons drawn, particularly in the heat of the moment. The potential for tragedy far outweighs any potential benefit or convenience to concealed-carry permit holders. We encourage the General Assembly to remove the provision that would allow guns to be brought onto UNC and other college and university campuses.”

There is no word yet if my fellow faculty members will stomp their feet and hold their breath until blue in the face if the General Assembly just ignores this resolution and passes the bill intact.

O, The Things College Professors Worry About

Inside Higher Ed is an online news source that deals with higher education. In addition to the job postings and university news items, they often publish essays and blogs from college professors about the trials and tribulations of life in academia. Yesterday they published an essay by Dr. Nate Kreuter entitled, “On Guns in My Classroom.”

What makes Dr. Kreuter’s essay particularly relevant to me is that he is an Assistant Professor of English at Western Carolina University. This is the same university at which I earned my master’s degree and at which I teach as an adjunct instructor in the College of Business.


As you can see from the photo above, WCU is nestled in a valley in the Great Smoky Mountains in a rather idyllic setting. While a bit isolated, it still can see its share of crime. There have been rapes on campus and there have been assaults. Indeed, in my university email this morning I received a notice from the University Police of a burglary of an occupied dorm room. Under North Carolina law that constitutes first-degree burglary which formerly was a capital crime.

So what is causing Dr. Kreuter to lose sleep? Is it about his effectiveness as a teacher and whether his students are actually learning? Is it about whether or not he will get tenure in a few years? Is it the fear that he won’t be able to protect his students if a mass shooter wants to perpetuate another Virginia Tech type massacre?

No. What is causing Dr. Kreuter to lose sleep and to write an angst filled essay is the mere thought that the North Carolina General Assembly might approve legislation allowing concealed carry on campus for students, staff, and faculty. Nevermind that the General Assembly has never had such a bill come before them and nevermind that it is still a felony under North Carolina law to merely even possess a firearm on campus unless you are law enforcement.

Then, among many other things, I wondered what I would do if the state allows guns on university campuses.

The idle fantasy of quitting one’s job is normal and healthy and sometimes even savory. That’s what I’ll do, I thought. If the state lets students carry guns onto campus I’ll just quit. It’s that simple. I’ll just quit. The hell with it. I’m not living that way. I could quit and feel principled and self-righteous.

Nobody depends on me. I don’t even have a dog. I could just quit. The Boarder (his cat) would be fine, and any number of ex-girlfriends have made clear that while I am no longer welcome, they would be happy to have him back in their lives at any time. He is the more charming of our pair, and he and I both know it. I could pawn him off, sell what little I own, and live on nothing. I could drift.

I have no delusions. It won’t matter if I quit. A hundred applicants will line up for my job. And there is nothing easier for a politician to ignore or dismiss than the principled stand of a nobody constituent. But I will quit.

I find his whole essay ludicrous and filled full of naive delusions. What makes it even worse is that Dr. Kreuter is a gun owner and writes in this essay about going grouse hunting.

I’ve talked to some of my students at WCU about firearms and concealed carry. I don’t include it in my lectures but if someone brings it up after class I don’t shy away from the discussion. The students who brought up the topic were responsible and mature. It wasn’t like they were going to shoot me or anyone else if I gave them a bad grade.

Dr. Kreuter needs to grow up and realize that the real world can be a dangerous place. Moreover, that danger doesn’t come from a properly licensed student or faculty member who has undergone training and a background check. Unfortunately, even at Western, I fear that Dr. Kreuter has many colleauges that feel as he does and not as I do.