Tuesday, August 02, 2005

More Gun Fun at the University of Oregon
from the mind of  Zeke_Wilkins.

Note to reader: Since June 2004 there have been at least three cases of handguns being flashed on campus, and in the light of my lawsuit's dismissal, I've been looking for a way to write an "I told you so" letter to the student newspaper. Below is the letter I submitted, we'll see if it gets published.


According to DPS safety bulletins, there have been at least three cases of illegal handgun brandishing on or near campus in just over one year. The incident in Klamath hall on June 25th only being the most recent. On April 24th of this year a man assaulted two students in Bean Hall, later returning with a revolver. On June 7th of last year there was an armed robbery between Bean Hall and Graduate Housing.

When I filed my lawsuit against the Oregon University System in an attempt to lift an unjust and illegal rule prohibiting the carrying of licensed concealed handguns, the response was predictable. The OUS and UO administration brought out the standard line: they were concerned about student safety. Student interviews and polls printed in the ODE showed that the majority of students (and I’m sure faculty and staff) felt uneasy about having concealed handguns carried onto campus by lawfully licensed and competent people.

If the campus community was uneasy about handguns carried by law-abiding citizens, I can only imagine the fear that has descended on campus with the revelation that yes indeed, there are already guns on campus- and they are not being carried by licensed, responsible people. The situation worsens with the unsettling realization that the administration is completely impotent when it comes to protecting students and faculty. The truth is that with an open campus anyone is able to smuggle in a handgun without detection- a lesson recently learned by an unnamed staff member.

Three incidents in about a year is hardly a crime wave; and fortunately shots have not been fired- yet. But it is enough to shatter the illusion that mere words on paper can deter irresponsible and criminally-minded outsiders from coming onto campus armed. If the OUS and UO administrations were truly concerned with student safety they would face the fact that the current policy of simply forbidding handguns on campus does not make it a gun-free zone. Furthermore, students and faculty alike would realize that they can only rely on themselves for protection.

I encourage the campus community to exert pressure on the OUS to drop the ban on defensive handguns. Handgun ownership is not about fear, it is about personal responsibility and taking steps to deter crime on campus. Sexual predators might think twice about targeting female students when there is the distinct possibility that they could be facing down the barrel of pistol wielded by a coed. Thieves will go elsewhere when faced with the idea of being confronted by an armed faculty member. There is a very real difference between feeling safe and being safe; a difference the U of O campus beginning to understand. Do not let irrational fears toward handguns dictate a policy which leaves the campus with no way to defend itself.


Anonymous brian jacobsen said...

Nicely said! I appreciate your articulate defense of our right to protect ourselves.

Thanks again,
Brian Jacobsen

9:05 AM  

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