Monday, March 24, 2008

I'll get on my knees to beg the legislature to pass 2513 to protect students!
Steve Fair- Jelly Salesman
HB 2513 will protect students!
By Steve Fair
State House Bill 2513 by Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, passed by a 65-36 margin in the State House last week. It now goes to the Senate. If #2513 becomes law, the bill would allow veterans, active-duty military and National Guard and reserve personnel, and people trained in law enforcement to carry concealed guns on college campuses if they have permits. The students would have to be CLEET certified- that means they would have to have basic peace officer training and be licensed through the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training. Murphey’s bill would not apply to students with Conceal and Carry permits, but only those who are CLEET certified.

Former U.S. Senator David Boren who is the President of the University of Oklahoma has said he opposes HB 2153 because it would hurt OU’s ability to recruit students and faculty to the campus. According to Boren, it would create a perception of an unsafe environment. Perception is not reality- just because you perceive you are safe doesn’t mean you are. Having a “gun free zone” didn’t stop the madmen at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois. Passage of HB 2513 would have the opposite effect. Students could be reassured that CLEET certified trained professionals were armed in the classroom and if a madman did come to the classroom, those trained professionals would be the first line of defense.

Currently, at least eleven U.S. colleges (all nine public colleges in the state of Utah, Colorado State University, and Blue Ridge Community College, in Weyers Cave, VA allow students with conceal and carry permits to have a weapon on campus. None of those campuses have experienced a single incident of gun violence, a gun accident or a gun theft. Murphey’s bill is not for conceal and carry students- it’s for CLEET certified students. Less than one percent of the population have conceal and carry permits, so we’re not talking about a huge number of students carrying guns on campus. We are talking about law enforcement officers and trained professionals who are taking college classes having a gun.

More guns in the hands of law-abiding people does not create violence- in fact it deters it. Forty U.S. states now have conceal and carry, including Oklahoma. None of those states have seen an increase in gun violence or gun accidents since legalizing concealed carry and carry. According to John Lott and David Mustard in Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns, “Independent researchers suggest that concealed handgun license holders are five times less likely than non-license holders to commit violent crimes. A comparison of arrest statistics from the mid-‘90s found that Florida concealed handgun license holders were three times less likely to be arrested than were New York City police officers. "

President Boren is out of touch with Oklahoma values. In a prepared statement, he said, "If it would help for me to get down on my knees to plead with the Legislature for the safety of our students, I would do so.” Boren is correct about this being about safety, but it’s also about rights. The 2nd amendment to the US Constitution guarantees Americans the right to keep and bear arms. We have a right to personally defend ourselves against the bad guys.

Another argument, Boren has against the bill is "Police would not be able to sort out dangerous gunmen from others on campus with guns." "Current law protects the constitutional rights of our people, but it wisely bans guns from schools and colleges," he said. "We should stick to the laws that have worked so well and allow our colleges to continue to improve safety on their campuses." Yeah- they have worked so well that three campuses have been shot up in the past year. Most of the times, by the time police arrive on the scene, it’s over and they are left with the task of counting bodies. What happens in the five minutes before police arrive? Innocent unarmed law abiding people die because the campus administration doesn’t trust them.

Gov. Brad Henry, has said that he has not yet reviewed the latest version of the bill and therefore cannot pass judgment on it, but he does have great concerns about the issue and will seek input from interested parties, particularly college presidents and the campus safety task force. Translation- Henry will do whatever Boren tells him to do.

Critics of HB 2513 say passage could create an environment like that at the O.K. Corral. That famous gunfight lasted thirty seconds and had only three fatalities- mostly the bad guys. Far less died at the OK Corral than at Virginia Tech and those at the Corral died defending themselves, not unarmed and scrambling for cover.

The media has reported college students on their knees begging for their lives during the recent campus shootings. Those students would have given anything to had a CLEET certified fellow student in the classroom with a weapon to fight back against those madmen, but that right was taken away from them in the name of safety. Where’s the logic and fairness in that?

No comments: