From the right: Bring universities in line with second amendment

By Nick Mignanelli
On February 2, 2012

The New Hampshire's most recent editorial was titled "Bringing guns to a knife fight: HB 334 bad news for college campuses." The editorial argues that an incident in which two defenseless and law-abiding students were stabbed and assaulted, respectively, outside the Adams Towers, clearly demonstrates that university administrations should have the ability to infringe upon the constitutional rights of students at public universities.

Tuesday's anti-gun tirade interestingly provides me the facts necessary to back up my piece. The incidents the editorial cites to support opposition to HB 334, the attack in front of the Adams Towers early Saturday morning and the tragic shooting that took place at Virginia Tech in early December, seem to clearly demonstrate why respect for the second amendment is in the best interest of student safety.

One wonders, for instance, if the events of early Saturday morning would have taken place had the victims been in possession of a gun. Even if they had not, would the attackers have been so hasty in their actions if they were aware of the possibility that their victims might be armed. Even if one is unwilling to acquire and carry a gun oneself, statistics seem to support the proposition that when would-be criminals are aware their would-be victims might be armed, they are less likely to act in the first place.

The second example cited by the editorial proves my point further. On December 8th of last year, a gunman killed two people on the campus of Virginia Tech. This tragedy invoked memories of a larger shooting that occurred on that campus in April of 2007 which ended in the deaths of 32 people. The editorial seems to infer that such tragedies prove, without question, that guns have no place on a college campus.

What the editorial fails to disclose is that, like UNH, Virginia Tech also has a policy prohibiting the possession of firearms. Section 2.2 of The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Policy and Procedures Manuel clearly states that, "the university's employees, students, and volunteers, or any visitor or other third party attending a sporting, entertainment, or educational event, or visiting an academic or administrative office building, dining facility, or residence hall, are further prohibited from carrying, maintaining, or storing a firearm or weapon on any university facility, even if the owner has a valid permit…"

How peculiar! An institution with a strongly-worded policy prohibiting the possession of firearms was the location of the deadliest campus shooting in United States history. Could it be that those determined to take the lives of others have little concern for such policy and laws? If that is the case, as I suspect it is, don't policies and regulations prohibiting the possession of firearms only serve to disarm, and, in doing so, endanger law-abiding citizens? 

But I digress. The main purpose of Tuesday's editorial was opposition to NH House Bill 334, a bill designed to return control over gun regulation on state property to its owners, the people of New Hampshire acting through their representatives in the legislature. What the bill will do, so far as USNH campuses are concerned, is to effectively force state university administrations to comply with the second amendment. Essentially, passage of this bill will mean that students will now have a right to possess and carry a gun on campus so long as they comply with the law and undergo the application process associated with obtaining a firearms license.

What I found most humorous about Tuesday's editorial wasn't so much the standard anti-gun fallacies but, rather, the editorial's ironic appeal to localism. The editorial fumes, "it will not benefit this campus to have Concord making the decision about whether firearms are allowed at UNH" and proceeds to assert that this is "a decision best left to college administrations." Recall that this is the same editorial staff that only a few issues ago outright rejected privatization proposals on the basis of the fact that "the state's flagship university is just that – and that's not, and shouldn't, change anytime soon."

The editorial seems to desire, for this university, the benefits, whatever those are, associated with being a state university without submitting to the rules and regulations that Concord has every right to impose upon Durham. These well-meaning journalism majors seem to forget that most wise of English idioms, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Nick Mignanelli is a junior political science major and TNH's resident conservative contrarian. He is the communications director of the NH College Republicans. Follow him on Twitter @nickmignanelli

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