It happened seven times in one month in 2013–gun scares on U.S. college campuses. Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana was locked down for hours while Muncie and Indiana State police searched campus buildings. On the same day, the library at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts was evacuated due to a gun scare.
Then, in the same month, a disassembled AR-15 rifle, .40-caliber Glock handgun, ammunition for both and body armor were found in a dorm room at Northern Illinois University (where Steven Kazmierczak fatally shot five in 2008) and Central Connecticut State University, Indiana University, Wingate University and A&T State University were locked down from gun threats.
The campus shootings continued–at Seattle Pacific University and the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2014; at Umpqua Community College in 2015—as did the gun lobby’s agenda to arm U.S. college campuses. This summer, 50 years after sniper Charles Whitman shot 49 from the University of Texas clock tower, the university complied with a new Texas state law allowing concealed firearms in university buildings. And this week, Attorney General Chris Koster, the Democratic nominee for Missouri governor, filed a lawsuit supporting a University of Missouri professor’s desire to bring a concealed weapon on campus.
Except for bars, is there any worse place to have guns? College students are known for their high drug and alcohol use and extreme emotional states including suicidal thoughts. Then there are academic rivalries. In 2014, Purdue University teaching assistant Cody Cousins shot and killed teaching assistant Andrew Boldt in an electrical engineering classroom on the campus. Cousins had 17 university counseling appointments and was treated for amphetamine abuse but legally purchased his gun a week before the murder.
Earlier this summer, UCLA Ph.D student Mainak Sarkar shot and killed William Scott Klug, a much loved professor. Press reports said Sarkar had a “hit list” of other professors he planned to kill and also shot and killed his wife. Like Cousins, Sarkar was known for suspicious and erratic behavior—and like Cousins he was a legal gun owner.
No wonder University of Oklahoma President David Boren says, “Placing guns on campus, except in the hands of highly trained law enforcement officers and professionals, would be a serious mistake. It would lead only to tragic results.” No wonder the American College Personnel Association “firmly opposes” guns on college campuses.
Of course the gun lobby wants to arm campuses so “good guys with guns can stop bad guys with guns.” No matter that the lobby arms bad guys through blocking universal background checks and tougher trafficking laws and that the last 22 mass shooters obeyed gun laws perfectly and were legal gun owners.
“It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun” is an insulting and self-serving fantasy that sells guns, fills the morgues and protects no one. If it were true, how were 18 Dallas and Baton Rouge police officers shot last month? How were servicemen at Chattanooga recruitment stations shot last year when they were armed and shot back? Instead of admitting that terrorists, haters and cop killers can and do buy guns, the gun lobby yells we need more guns for “protection.” And now it is bringing its bloody agenda to college campuses.