As we note below, the editorial board of the Oklahoma Daily, the OU student newspaper in Norman, published an editorial opposing the bill that would allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus.
Here is the Oklahoma Daily editorial, which we publish in full:
A college campus is, arguably, the last place you’d want concealed weapons to be allowed. Just ask students, faculty and staff at any of the schools that have faced a school shooting.
A new bill, however, begs to differ, and could take a dangerous first step in putting students’ lives at risk.
Proposed House Bill 2513 would remove public colleges’ and universities’ authority to prohibit students or faculty members from carrying concealed guns, provided they have a valid concealed carry license.
Proponents of gun rights claim allowing concealed weapons on campus would allow a quicker response in case a shooting happens.
We question that logic, though. Won’t increasing the number of guns on campus increase the likelihood of a shooting in the first place?
It bothers us that the state Legislature would consider to exclusively increase the chance of concealed weapons on college campuses, especially in light of increased violence on campus in recent years.
If state politicians want to pay tribute to civil liberties, why wouldn’t they consider a similar law for the whole state?
If we truly wish to better campus security, there are adequate alternatives, though we didn’t think we would ever need to say so.
Gov. Brad Henry’s Campus Life and Safety and Security Task Force, for instance, would beef up security on campus, and would most likely make response times better during emergency situations. While this initiative would cause an increase in students’ tuition, we believe it is a better solution to preventing school shootings than allowing Wild West scenarios.
While in order to acquire an Oklahoma concealed carry license a person must be at least 21 years old, go through several hours of training and background checks, we think the presence of guns only mounts tension in the classroom and increases the likelihood of an accident.
Although the bill only revokes a college’s right to restrict concealed weapons, it certainly seems to be aimed toward ultimately loosening weapons standards.
If the bill should pass, however, we believe it’s only a matter of time until it is revoked.
The unfortunate part is that it may come at the cost of lives.