BATON ROUGE -- All college students 21 or older who have qualified for concealed handgun permits would be able to carry firearms to class and other parts of campus under a bill approved 11-3 by a House committee Thursday.Where to begin?
The Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice sent to the House floor House Bill 199 by Rep. Ernest Wooton, R-Belle Chasse, its chairman. Wooton said he expects lengthy debate on the bill's merits when it hits the floor.
The bill drew support from college students who say they feel unsafe and inadequately protected when leaving campus late at night. Student leaders from several campuses teamed with Joseph Savoie, commissioner of higher education for the State Board of Regents, the agency that coordinates higher education funding, policy and curriculum, in asking the panel to reject the measure
1) Weapons are currently prohibited on college and university campuses. I mean "prohibited" in that (on my campus) there are old, rusty signs suggesting such, but we all know that there is nothing else prohibiting students from bringing guns to campus, whether they have concealed firearms permits or not. That is already the case. The legislation proposed above encourages students to bring firearms to campus by reinforcing idea that they need firearms on campus.
2) Those college students who "feel unsafe and inadequately protected when leaving classes late at night" should be lobbying for heightened campus security. Under Bobby Jindal's current hiring freeze, however, there will not be more campus security on state college and university campuses anytime soon.
3) As usual, unsavory Louisiana legislators have aimed for a solution that costs the state nothing (except, potentially, lives) and essentially outsources campus security to those who will do the job for free, presumably students and faculty.
4) I may often sound grumpy when I talk about my students, but let me tell you, I take my responsibility to them very seriously. I care about every one of them, even those few who try my nerves to extreme levels. The vast majority are nice people. That said, I do not want them carrying guns. I do not want them to become the target of propaganda suggesting that it's their responsibility to themselves or others to do so. More guns on college campuses will not make college campuses safer but rather more dangerous.
5) In the event of a Virginia-Tech episode, crossfire is not the answer. But in the event that the state legislature encourages students to arm themselves, Virginia-Tech episodes are more likely. Of the two students in my long career whose potential capacity for violent outbursts concerned me tremendously, both would have probably qualified for concealed weapons permits and both possessed a mindset which would have led them to apply.
I'm contacting my representative about HB 199. Please join me.