The legality of guns on campus: ‘How is our campus safer by taking away our constitutionally protected right to defend ourselves?’

by   Posted on April 5th, 2010 in Opinion

By Alan Moore, Staff Writer

Currently, the Supreme Court is considering McDonald v. Chicago which could determine once and for all if state and local governments have the right to restrict and control gun ownership.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees that an individual has the fundamental right to bear arms in the District of Columbia v. Heller case.

If this current gun rights case is overruled, then it is likely that all laws and ordinances prohibiting handguns in states and localities will be nullified.

As this landmark case is being considered, it seems prudent to examine the policy on guns at George Mason University. According to University Policy Number 1120, Section 3-A, “The possession of any weapon on campus by any member of the faculty, staff or student body, with the exception of law enforcement officials as cited in the policy portion of this procedure, is prohibited.” The policy first defines weapons as “pistols and revolvers.”

The hypocrisy of this policy must be recognized and the regulation repealed.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, you must be 21 to purchase a handgun and/or handgun ammunition. You are not permitted to purchase a firearm if you have ever been indicted or convicted of a felony, convicted of jailable misdemeanors, have a restraining order or outstanding arrest warrant against you, are addicted to any controlled substances, are legally incompetent, have ever been an outpatient for mental health treatment, are an illegal alien, have ever been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces or for any number of similar reasons.

To obtain a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) you must be able to legally purchase a handgun as outlined in the previously described requirements and you must complete a state-approved firearms safety or training course.

Next, you must apply for a CHP through your local circuit court by providing a copy of your training course completion certificate, pay a fee, show proof of residency and submit an application that assesses your eligibility.

If you make a false statement in the application, that “constitutes perjury and is punishable in accordance with §18.2-434 of the Code of Virginia.”

In other words, you go to jail if you lie.

The applicant is then submitted to a lengthy background investigation conducted by the Virginia State Police Department. Then a circuit court judge must sign an order granting you the license.

On top of that, if you are not a Virginia resident (which many George Mason University students are not), it’s even more difficult.

You must meet additional requirements, like providing impressions of your fingerprints and a current photo.

With such stringent requirements to both buy a gun and obtain a CHP, why does Mason refuse to allow students who have jumped through the necessary bureaucratic hoops to carry handguns on campus?

Strangely enough, this only applies to Mason students, faculty and staff. I could have lunch on campus with 50 of my closest CHP holders, all carrying a concealed handgun, and there is nothing illegal about it.

However, if I personally partook in that Second Amendment extravagance, I could be expelled. This policy is all done in the name of safety. But how is our campus safer by taking away our constitutionally protected right to defend ourselves?

Students, faculty and staff should also be permitted to carry concealed weapons. And quite frankly, I’d feel safer knowing there are armed and sensible people on campus who know how to handle a firearm.

While gun rights opponents would have you believe that guns sneak around at night committing crimes, such claims are simply false.

Criminals and the mentally deranged (if they are separate groups of people) commit crimes, guns do not.

Criminals would like nothing more than a ban on guns because they will still find ways to get them and it makes their victims powerless to defend themselves.

If the ban on guns is lifted, here is what will happen: crime will go down, women will feel safer walking around at night, criminals will think twice about victimizing students and Mason will gain a reputation for being a friend to the U.S. Constitution.



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