Thursday, February 21, 2008

College Student In Utah Carries Concealed Weapon On Campus



yes. you read that right. he started doing this after the Virginia Tech massacre. he may feel safer, but i wonder what his classmates would think if they knew. another one for the WTF files.

14 comments:

The Pedant said...

I think that, generally, people who jump through all the hoops to legally buy guns and get concealed carry permits (including the necessary firearms safety course) are not the gun owners that we should be worrying about.

emily1 said...

so, you have no problem with the possibility of getting caught between mr. whacko massacre dude and mr. i wanna be a hero? i personally don't want people to be able to carry concealed weapons. i'm not totally against ownership of guns, but i don't want people carrying them in backpacks on my college because it makes them feel 'safer'.

The Pedant said...

No, because I think that, should the police show up in a timely manner, there's just as good a chance I'll get caught in their crossfire. Cops are known for getting into a trigger squeeze-fest when they even THINK they are in danger (see any case where police think a car is trying to run down an officer - 20 to 30 bullets in less than that many seconds).

And I can't say I'm hoping that everyone will be unarmed when the crazed gunman shows up and the police don't get there in time.

As for carrying because it makes people feel "safer," it all depends on how reasonable and responsible the person is. What's your position on pepper spray, which is occasionally (although not often) lethal? I know it's no semiautomatic firearm, but would it bother you to know someone has that in a purse or backpack?

emily1 said...

i'm okay with concealed carry for pepper spray. not okay with concealed carry for firearms. while pepper spray may be occasionally lethal, it is far less lethal than firearms.

if the police, who are trained to use guns in high-pressure situations, are prone to trigger happy shooting, then i'm not cool with people who merely gone through average firearm classes carrying them around in their backpacks on college campuses.

Ole Blue The Heretic said...

He could always shoot a crazy person bent on self and the destruction of others.

But really someone who is so afraid that he or she believes they have to carry a gun on campus normally will be too scared to pull the trigger.

emily1 said...

i just did some research. both the virginia tech shooter and the northern illinois university shooter passed all the checks necessary to legally purchase the guns they used to slaughter their classmates. they bought their guns from the same dealer.

fear isn't the only thing that stops a person from pulling the trigger and killing someone. most people have a strong aversion to killing others. even in self defense.

The Pedant said...

Now, technically, the Virginia tech gunman shouldn't have been able to buy a gun - under Virginia law, people who a court rules mentally ill can't do so.

But buying guns online is a different kettle of fish anyway. You can't buy cigarettes or liquor online; why guns?

Anyway, my basic position is that I can't know who's crazy and I can't trust the police to save me, so there has to be something I can do more than hope I'm near an exit or a large bullet-blocking object when the guns start blazing. It doesn't have to be a stranger with a rocket launcher, but something.

emily2 said...

honestly, after hearing all the stories of trigger-happy cops, i can't say i trust cops any more than the average joe who packs heat.

i would ban the online sale of guns, though.

(and p.s. technical matter, but yes you can buy liquor online. or at least i can. =])

joe said...

From a recent column by Tim Rutten in the LA Times:

It isn't as if our lawmakers aren't willing to do something to protect our students, however. Twelve state legislatures -- those in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington -- are considering bills that would allow students who obtain concealed-weapons permits to carry guns on campus. Presumably, they'll only fire in self-defense.

Confronted with this sort of social idiocy, it's hard to know whether to chortle or choke.


I haven't been able to fact check this, or have any idea how likely any of these measures are to pass, but my overall reaction to that is "WTF?!"

emily2 said...

concealed firearms on campus are a little too much though. those things, you know... can kill people.

what about concealed tasers? concealed stun guns? i support that. allowing these would also deter sexual assault.

emily1 said...

Now, technically, the Virginia tech gunman shouldn't have been able to buy a gun - under Virginia law, people who a court rules mentally ill can't do so.

technically, shmecnically. the virginia tech shooter was run through the background check and nothing came up. he got his gun from a dealer who followed procedure. same as the other shooter through the same dealer.

maybe the dealer wouldn't have sold the guns had he been doing a face-to-face transaction in which he could have relied on intuition that something wasn't quite right. i'm not okay with selling and buying guns over the internet for this reason, but i'm also leery of relying on 'intuition' as part of the screening process.

i'm not convinced that we don't have to worry about people who obtain weapons through the proper channels because for all intents and purposes, these two guys went through the proper channels and massacred more than two dozen people.

Anyway, my basic position is that I can't know who's crazy and I can't trust the police to save me, so there has to be something I can do more than hope I'm near an exit or a large bullet-blocking object when the guns start blazing. It doesn't have to be a stranger with a rocket launcher, but something.

you also don't know who's high and/or drunk when you get into an automobile. do you choose not to use automobiles as a mode of transportation? your chances of dying in an accident dwarf the chances that you're going to be killed in a mass murder by a gunman. does the fear of dying in an accident occupy your mind so much that you're willing to buy an army tank in order to feel safe on the road?

your desire to increase your sense of security against random, largely unforeseeable and therefore unmanageable risks is understandable. however, allowing concealed carry on campuses is not actually going to increase anyone's safety. it would make me want to enroll in an online program. if cops, who are trained to deal with scary, high-pressure situations involving gunfire, cannot use guns safely, i simply don't trust people who've attended normal gun training to safely use them either.

part of life is living with the fact that there is no way to ensure a zero risk society. allowing greater numbers of people to carry concealed weapons in high-population locations just because they can jump through the inadequate hoops we have in place is a recipe for increased risk. if concealed carry were forbidden, but visible carry were and large numbers of people walked around on campus with guns on their hips, i doubt there would be an increased sense of public safety.

The Pedant said...

Emily1: at the core, we disagree with my opinion that lots of yahoo types who love to wear Thunderwear, despite being generally mouth-breathing, would not tend to go on killing rampages and would in fact be at least as useful as the police in using armed force to subdue a crazed gunman. I believe that our positions are basically equally supported (or unsupported) by facts, so I'll basically concede that.

But on the issue of relative risk, there remains an interesting philosophical question. We all gamble with supremely unlikely but catastrophic risk.

According to a number of legal and economic scholars, depending on how catastrophic a risk is, it may be reasonable to take measures against the risk no matter how unlikely the risk is or how disruptive those measures are.

As established above, we already disagree on all the relevant factors of risk to make that determination (likelihood of incident, likelihood that efforts will be successful, collateral impact of measures taken) in the case of random shootings. But it's not unreasonable to ask that we at least think about taking steps to limit our risk of catastrophic incidents.

emily1 said...

But on the issue of relative risk, there remains an interesting philosophical question. We all gamble with supremely unlikely but catastrophic risk.

it isn't just philosophical, though. this is an area of growing interest to the field of human psychology. in the face of random, uncontrollable catastrophe, humans will do things that given them an illusion of control even if there isn't any actual increase in their level of control over such things.

According to a number of legal and economic scholars, depending on how catastrophic a risk is, it may be reasonable to take measures against the risk no matter how unlikely the risk is or how disruptive those measures are.

usually, we buy insurance.

As established above, we already disagree on all the relevant factors of risk to make that determination (likelihood of incident, likelihood that efforts will be successful, collateral impact of measures taken) in the case of random shootings.

we aren't just talking about random shootings. we're talking about the likelihood that any individual will be the victim of a gun-wielding mass-murderer. these incidents are rare. random shootings are a larger category that includes these incidents. a concealed weapon won't protect you against a stray bullet.

i still think that an average gun course is not enough to prepare anyone for a high pressure situation like a mass shooting. your ability to assess what is happening, who is responsible and safely take action is not honed in such a course.

i've seen car accidents happen right in front of my eyes and there was a measurable delay between seeing it happen and actually recognizing and processing what my eyes had observed. it is for that reason that i believe even the most excellent target range shooter or game hunter would be as likely to shoot and kill an innocent person.

good aim and long familiarity with firearms don't translate into the ability to recognize and respond appropriately to a maniac shooting a bunch of screaming, crying, panicking people.

But it's not unreasonable to ask that we at least think about taking steps to limit our risk of catastrophic incidents.

i don't think carrying concealed weapons on college campuses is necessary. i object to concealed carry in crowded public spaces. better mental health services and better controls on gun sales would be more effective. at least in the case of the virginia tech shooter, shutting down the campus after the first body was discovered would have prevented the rest of the murders.

theaegean said...

Many of you are missing the fact that online gun sales must still be conducted by shipping the gun to a federally licensed firearms dealer, with their prior approval. So the gun may be bought online, but a dealer must still do the background check and you must pick it up face-to-face.