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“If you really want to protect people, do away with those gun-free zones”

“If you really want to protect people, do away with those gun-free zones”

My appearance on The Rod Arquette Show.

My column at USA Today, Time to talk about gun free zones, is gaining a lot of attention, with over 6600 shares, plus over 11,000 shares at The Blaze which excerpted the column.

I’ve enjoyed reading the comments, most of which are along the line of this comment at The Blaze:

Lets see.. Law professor at Cornell University, Comes out against gun free zones, Says the word “Evil” in his statement ….Yeah, welcome to the unemployment line…

AS OF THIS WRITING I’m still employed, so there.

I was interviewed Monday night, October 5, 2015, on the Ron Arquette Show in Salt Lake City, Utah about my column.

One issue that has arisen is whether Umpqua Community College was a “gun-free zone.”

I included several links in my prior post, including to a statement by the Interim President that UCC had a “no guns on campus” policy, as well as analyses at, The Federalist, and Vocativ which showed what the policy actually was.

Since then, some people have claimed UCC was not a gun-free zone because of a state appeals court decision holding that by statute only the state assembly could regulate firearms, and that state higher education rules were tantamount to regulation and therefore preempted. (It was not a 2nd Amendment decision.) The decision leaves unclear whether some restrictions, that are not so sweeping they amount to “regulation,” would be permitted, and that vagueness may be why some colleges and schools believe they can impose some restrictions.

That was the point of this article at The Oregonian. But even that article acknowledged that UCC had a no-guns policy. Whether it legally was entitled to is open to debate, the article points out (emphasis added):

The college’s no-guns policy seems to be obvious evidence that the Umpqua campus was such a place. But Oregon gun owners with concealed firearms licenses know those licenses entitle them to carry loaded guns in nearly all public places. Guns, including handguns and rifles, are allowed on campus for people who have passed all background checks and conditions to qualify for a concealed weapon permit.

Many Oregon college and university leaders dislike having armed people on campus, and public colleges have tried to make rules prohibiting the practice. But the courts have ruled those policies invalid when it comes to licensed permit-holders.

So whether UCC’s policy was lawful is one thing, but the fact that it had a no-guns policy is not in doubt. And that’s what mattered.

UPDATE 10-6-2015 – h/t Patterico, here is the UCC President confirming “we have a no guns on campus policy” (earlier in the video she confirmed the security on campus was unarmed):


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The fine art of risk management. Step one, don’t advertise that you are a low risk target. Criminals, gangs, terrorists, etc. love deferential victims.

In 2011, the Oregon court of appeals decided that colleges couldn’t ban members of the public from concealed carrying on campus (public) property. The schools, realizing they couldn’t ban the general public from carrying, wrote regulations that would prohibit staff, students and employees from concealed carrying within buildings and classrooms, thus making that concealed carry permit worthless for staff, students and employees. The result is that a total stranger, who may have no legitimate business with a particular college, is allowed to bring a weapon to the school where staff, students and employees are left defenseless if that person decides to start shooting.

Way to go, Oregon.

Yes, gun-free zones are a universal theme.

Also in common are that these are young men with social and emotional problems (especially with women), and almost all of them have been or currently are taking psych meds.

Also frequently in common is that they have hate group affiliations or are wannabe affiliates, e.g. extremist Muslim.

Video of a CCW holder / student who was on campus and carrying.

It’s a shame more like him weren’t near the shooter.

strict liability….gun free, you own the safety of those in your environment.

right to carry….you are indemnified and protected….

    rabidfox in reply to rabid wombat. | October 5, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    Except that institutions declaring themselves to be gun-free refuse to accept responsibility. And the victims let them get away with that.

      DaveGinOly in reply to rabidfox. | October 6, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Making a location a gun-free zone is an establishment’s attempt at securing the venue from the threat of assailants armed with firearms. If the security arrangements fail, then the location’s owners or administrators are responsible for having taken inadequate precautions. They are better off being neutral and presenting no pretext of security from armed assault, than they are presenting a false impression of security to the public that uses their facilities. People who voluntarily enter gun-free zones do not do so thinking, “I know I’m exposing myself to a greater threat of danger here.” In fact, gun-free zones are meant to convey exactly the opposite impression and location owners and administrators understand that most people are stupid enough to believe it. It is the falsity of this impression, and the intent to make it, that makes owners/administrators responsible for what happens when their security fails. They create what is effectively an implied contract – If you disarm yourself to do business with me, I will keep you safe while you are in my establishment – and then fail at their end of it.

      Also, the creation of gun-free zones prevents people from protecting themselves, so the creators of the zone become responsible when they fail to prevent criminal acts because they have assumed complete responsibility for the individual’s safety. (If they have not, shouldn’t gun-free zone signs have a disclaimer – “By establishing a gun-free zone on this premises, (business or school name here) makes no guarantees, express or implied, concerning your personal safety”?) Unlike merely posting guards to protect, they make individuals on their property vulnerable to predators who get past their (inadequate) security.

      This is very much like the home owner who clears snow from his walk imperfectly, who becomes responsible for leaving a hazard (like ice) in place while creating a perception of safety (no snow). The home owner is better off leaving an obvious safety hazard in place so people will avoid it, rather than encouraging the public to presume the home owner’s efforts have created a safe environment. The home owner becomes responsible for creating a false impression of safety, leading people to injury. So too the mall, theater, or school is better off having no policy on weapons, rather than having one that falsely implies security when it provides no such thing. The decision to avoid locations that allow firearms on-premise, to ignore the danger, or to take personal responsibility for protecting oneself should a threat materialize, is a decision that should be left to the individual.

Gun free zones are an abomination yet they will continue to exist, attracting deranged nut cases year after year. Yes, just perhaps a gun-carrying citizen might have helped shut down the killing rampage if one had been present. Yet, that doesn’t seem to be happening, a true pity.

On the other hand, we have to recognize that if we get in that terrible position, do try whatever can be done, attack the nut case in any possible way; maybe a life can be saved.

One student at UCC tried to bring down the shooter and got shot multiple times, he lives now. In last month’s French train attack, a Brit who helped bring down the shooter said it well: Die if he stood there, maybe live if he helped those 3-Yanks bring down the shooter; he lived, so did the 3-Yanks. So, maybe, God forbid that any of us get in this kind of situation, we need to do what those 3-Yanks and Brit and that one UCC student did, attack the shooter, try and bring him, or her, down. What would be lost if that effort fails? Would that be worse than accepting the fate intended by the killer?

Also, get rid of those damned gun free zones, they are NOT saving anyone nor improving societies lot, or values, in any way.

It would be pretty easy for teachers to make it known that if they see a person with gun in their class that the students grade will suffer as a result.

mumzieistired | October 6, 2015 at 12:27 am

Time to get guns in the schools. ASAP.

A quick check of the Wikipedia article giving a list of school shootings shows the following counts of numbers of school shootings per decade:
1950s – 19 school shootings
1960s – 17 school shootings
1970s – 24 school shootings
1980s – 34 school shootings
1990s – 47 school shootings
2000s – 48 school shootings
2010s – 117 school shootings (through October 1, 2015)

Assuming the current rate for the decade, there will be roughly a total of 203 school shootings for the decade. That means 86 more before 2020.

It is interesting that the count for the 2010s will be more than 4 times the previous high count, and that it’s already more than twice the previous high.

I know the Wiki isn’t always reliable, and this isn’t any sort of reliable statistical analysis or anything…But this is scary.

The Gun Free School Zones Act was signed into law in November of 1990.
The Roe v. Wade decision came down in January 1973.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to mumzieistired. | October 6, 2015 at 1:16 am

    I think it is significant that the number has increased so much during Obumbles time in office, but surely that couldn’t have anything to do with it…right….right?

    MattMusson in reply to mumzieistired. | October 6, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Any no account loser can become an instant Celebrity! Just walk onto campus and start pulling the trigger. Politics are secondary. The seduction of instant fame is the real appeal.

    MattMusson in reply to mumzieistired. | October 6, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Please remember – the overwhelming number of school shootings are GANG related and not random murders.

    justaguy in reply to mumzieistired. | October 6, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Before one uses numbers of school shootings, we have to try to get which ones are gang and drug related. I don’t certainly get a large number of the breathless hysterics from the all news all the time from the cable newsies 5-10 times per year so something is wrong in our counting. Gun deaths, shooting, college rapes, and most other things that have a politicized liberal policy behind them are wildly exaggerated to scare the public and convince the simple-minded. That is how staring at a hot girl in a skimpy/revealing outfit on a college campus gets counted as sexual assault.

    That said, I am a believer that armed good guys are needed to protect the helpless public from the armed bad guys. I’m glad the NRA got out this idea quickly and keeps repeating it. Of course, I’m also for not having a helpless public, but most of the current liberals (20% or so of population) will always be helpless so someone has to protect them from reality.

    I am very skeptical of those figures. Where are they getting their data from, and what do they count as a “school shooting”?

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Amy in FL. | October 6, 2015 at 6:07 pm

      They probably got them from Bloombergs group or Moms demand action, which means they are complete crap and include things like gang shootings that happened within a block of a school.

        And they’re probably using the Google to search for 1950’s through 1990’s “incidents”, which is hardly a statistically sound method since they happened pre-Internet, and pre- anti-gun hype.

        Semper Why in reply to Gremlin1974. | October 7, 2015 at 12:03 pm

        I recall that a non-student committing suicide in the school parking lot after hours was marked as a “school shooting”.

Since most Progressives are purely materialists by nature one has to wonder if the UCC administration will now be MORE concerned about an increased cost of liability insurance due to their pseudo-pacifist “policy” of a “Gun Free” campus.

If insurance costs increase, as they will during the course of or after litigation, the administration at UCC will certainly pass the cost on to the student body so they can pay more for being “sitting ducks”.

“Ideally” professors at these “Gun Free” colleges should stand between students and a perpetrator to protect the student. But would this happen in that mixed-up world where sensate existence is everything?

I would imagine that law suits will come down the pike unless the students have signed an agreement giving away their right to safety.

Oh, yeah,…the Right to Safety…“Lawless Free” zones…these concepts cost more and rankle materialist Utopian ideals to the core. Same-sex “marriage” like “Gun Free” zones costs them nothing but the signage. It is our society that finds itself mortally wounded.
One also has to wonder if the person who wrote the above comment in the post is working and if they voted for the president who takes away jobs based on his materialist bias.

As you have done Professor it will be necessary in this day and age to call out evil and to name it and bring it into the light of day.

Evil thrives in murky milieu of “Free Zones”, “rights”, 4chan-like sites, and in the hearts of all those who act against their neighbor and against the common good.

I conceal carry for DEFENSE of my personal well being. I am not a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) and it’s not my job or intent to act in the manner of an LEO when a criminal act is in progress. The authorities responsible for “gun free” zones should be accountable for crimes committed in these areas. I have been guilty of carrying my small pistol in a Post Office.

Rush was wondering today why Benghazi was caused by a video while Oregon was caused by a gun according to hitlery.

Henry Hawkins | October 6, 2015 at 7:48 pm

“All of these school shootings… we’ve got to do something!”

“I know, let’s disarm all the potential victims and hang a sign out front for all to see.”

If you run the phrase “Gun Free Zone” through a semantics translator you’ll find it translates to mean “Open Hunting Zone for Psych-Med Users”.

The legal situation seems pretty clear to me: The campus is not technically a gun-free zone, since anyone with a permit can carry, provided that they don’t have a contractual relationship with the college which it can terminate for violating its policies. But since that exception covers > 99% of those on campus, it’s a gun-free zone in effect. You can’t be arrested for carrying, but if you’re a student you can be expelled, if you work for the college you can be fired, and if you’re attending a ticketed event your ticket can be revoked. Other than that, no problem.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Milhouse. | October 7, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    Yep, pretty much. Now if that doesn’t give you a headache from the cognitive dissonance then I don’t know what will.