“Gun Free” Zone Conundrum

In late October, two Gonzaga University students came face to face with the perverse dichotomy attendant with all collegiate “gun free” zones. A no-gun policy designed to protect them, and a reality determined to mock the policy. First, some background.

On the night of the 24th, Erik Fagan, 21, and Daniel McIntosh, 23, were in their University-leased, though off-campus apartment when a six-time felon knocked on their door, demanding money. Fagan instead offered a blanket and food, at which point the man grew confrontational and tried to force entry. In a scene likely repeated across the country (“likely” because the media hardly reports defensive use), McIntosh brandished a 10mm Glock (legally owned) to drive the intruder off.

If the two weren’t students, it’d be just one more unreported defensive use of a firearm. But, unfortunately, they are students.  For their troubles,  the pair had the pistol, and a shotgun, confiscated and were ultimately placed on academic probation for violating the university’s gun policy. And there’s the dichotomy. Adhere to policy, face unknown, though likely unpleasant consequences of strange bad guy in your apartment. Or, avoid unpleasantness, and receive probation or worse. Rock, meet hard place.

Whether they were on-campus, or at an off-site, University-owned property is ultimately sidebar. Of greater urgency is the wisdom of handicapping responsible (they didn’t just start shooting), permit-owning, seemingly law-abiding citizen-students from providing their own defense.

And that order matters. One is a citizen first, endowed by the Constitution with rightful gun ownership, and a student second. Making your econ final is moot if you’ve had your head caved in by an attacker and were unable to defend yourself through administrative fiat.

The question becomes this: At what geographic point does the 2nd Amendment bow out to the auspices of campus “security”? Right now, the point is an arbitrary line drawn on a map. Stay across the street, and feel free to thwart an attack with a gun. It’s your right, after all. A shoelace still on said map? Kindly leave the gun at the curb, and enjoy our complimentary campus police who might get you in time, provided you break free to phone it in. “Time out, Mr. Assailant. Before we get to Act II, just gotta make a call. Just wait there…”

Except police can’t always be relied on. In 2007, Amanda Collins, a student at the University of Nevada-Reno, was brutally raped a mere 50 feet from the campus police station. While she made it out alive, the perpetrator went on to rape two more, and kill another. Collins, like Fagan, had a concealed-weapon permit, but was similarly prohibited from carrying her pistol. I’m not saying if she had had her weapon that her attack could have been prevented, but I’m not not saying it, either. If a “War on Women” really does exist, here is an untold battle. Collegiate gun policies leave women less likely to successfully defend against attack from more physically imposing male attackers. “I was legislated into being a victim,” said Collins. Hard to argue with her.

Within a 20 minute radius of the home of the Aurora theater shooter, seven theaters were showing the just-released Batman movie. The shooter instead choose the only one in proximity, one farther away, to display a “no gun” sign. Did he choose it for this purpose? We’ll likely never know. The point is, however, that “gun free” zones are more accurately “henchmen, come-here-because-we-aren’t-permitted-to-fight-back” zones.

Two of the worst mass school shootings in recent memory, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook, took place on campuses where no private citizen is allowed to wield a gun. Isn’t it interesting that the places one is prohibited from possessing a gun are the very places one is most likely to be shot with one? How many funerals were attended unnecessarily to preserve the feel-good notion that a “no gun” policy would actually avert a criminal from doing what they intend to do? These policies and their writers place far too much faith in a society that, like it or not, has some very bad people in it. Be comforted, though. Colleges care about your well being.

Given the liberalism of the American campus scene, and the resultant pro-choice ideology that follows, campus attacks are, ironically, quite anti-choice. If you find yourself at the hands of an attacker, your violation can span the gamut from your property, your body or your life. You have no choice in the matter, and don’t expect to do anything about it either. On college campus U.S.A., you’re to grin and bear it: No good guy guns allowed.


About Michael Haugen

Michael Haugen is a full-spectrum conservative and recent graduate from Eastern Washington University (BS Biology). His main interests in politics and public policy center around health care, education and tax reform. He'll be returning to EWU in 2014 to complete a Master's degree in Public Administration. Follow him on Twitter: @HaugenTRA

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  1. College Students Have Gun Rights, Too | The Right Argument - February 1, 2014

    […] written here previously about the shortcomings of supposedly “gun free” zones: that places where one is unable to carry a gun are […]

  2. Idaho: The Seventh State In Which The Prof May “Shoot A Student” | The Right Argument - March 13, 2014

    […] written previously about the consequences of students, particularly women, being unable to level the playing field […]

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