Sunday, April 20, 2014
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LETTER: On guns

After reading the recently published article concerning the legality of weapons on Boston University’s campus, I was worried when I saw that only the people that thought that guns should be outright banned on BU’s campus were interviewed and had their opinion published. Where was the differing opinion in this article?

BU Police Chief Thomas Robbins states that if you were to have a licensed, 21-or-older student or faculty member carry his or her legally obtained weapon into a classroom, “if there’s a physical struggle and someone disagrees with someone … there’s now a weapon in that situation so anything can go wrong.”

Does Chief Robbins really believe that if we allow these licensed individuals to carry their firearms into the classroom, normal academic debates can suddenly become intense gun battles? When in his “three decades as a police officer” can he cite something like this that has ever happened? He states his opinion that he believes licensed CCW holders should be banned from carrying weapons on campus, but doesn’t state any compelling evidence as to why.

The other opinion in this article is from a BU political science professor, Christine Rossel, who has probably never touched an actual gun in her life, much less shot one. She states a claim, once again not supported by evidence, that “… it ‘s very difficult for someone who hasn’t had decades of training to know exactly who they’re supposed to be shooting, that’s problem number one.”

Let’s look back on an example from reality: the Virginia Tech massacre from 2007, when a student shot and killed 32 people in the deadliest mass-shooting incident in United States history. When the campus police entered the building eight minutes after the shooting had started and 32 lay dead, the shooter had already committed suicide. Virginia Tech had a Campus firearms ban very similar to that of BU’s, which prohibited licensed students, faculty, or visitors from carrying their firearms on campus.

Now imagine being a student at Virginia Tech, trapped inside of a classroom hiding under your desk with an active shooter outside of your classroom. To reference Sam Harris, Would you really be relieved to know that up until then, your university had been an impeccable gun-free environment and that no one, not even your professor who has been trained and held his concealed carry license for years, would be armed? If you found yourself trapped with others in a classroom, preparing to attack the shooter with pencils and chairs, can you imagine remembering BU political science professor Christine Rossel’s claim and thinking “I’m so glad no one else has a gun, because I wouldn’t want to get caught in any crossfire”?

To support my opinion, that licensed CCW permit holders should be allowed to carry their weapons on campus, to defend themselves as well as others, I provide the example of the Appalachian School of Law shooting in 2002. The story starts out the same as Virginia Tech, a mentally deranged student brings a weapon on campus, and shoots and kills three people point blank, then sets out to kill as many people as possible. However, what makes this story different is that Appalachian School of Law does not ban firearms on its campus. At the first sound of gunfire, two other students went to their vehicles to retrieve their personally owned firearms, and held the shooter at gunpoint until the police arrived, stopping any further killing from taking place. No shots were fired by the students, and no one was killed in the crossfire.

The fact is that in the United States we are around armed citizens every day, people who have legal concealed carry permits, and we don’t even know it. These random wild-west-like incidents that Professor Rossel and Chief Robbins state would occur if firearms were allowed on campus simply don’t happen in reality. I find it sad that an irrational fear of firearms can lead to such misinformation, and make people believe that BU students and faculty, some of the best and brightest in the world, are incapable of carrying firearms responsibly, while for every ‘average joe’ off campus it is perfectly legal.

Tyler Butler

CAS ‘14

tbutler@bu.edu

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