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Editorial: Bringing guns to a knife fight

HB 334 bad news for college campuses

Published: Monday, January 30, 2012

Updated: Monday, January 30, 2012 23:01


As the flurry of text alerts sent to student cell phones and email accounts in the early morning hours of Saturday made apparent, the combination of alcohol and hot-headed students can lead to unfortunate violence. The first weekend of the spring semester featured a high-profile brawl in which one UNH student was stabbed and another was hit over the head with a blunt object.

Coincidentally, UNH officials spent Thursday in Concord arguing against a bill currently before the New Hampshire Senate that would add guns to the mix, too.

House Bill 334, which passed the New Hampshire House of Representatives earlier this month, would allow firearms on all public property, including public universities such as UNH. Up until now, university officials have been able to set their own firearm policies, and firearms are prohibited on the UNH campus.

It should remain that way.

The juxtaposition of lawmakers arguing in favor of guns on the UNH campus hours before a violent crime occurred isn't the only episode of bad timing being the best argument against this bill.

In December, two New Hampshire residents said they planned to appear on the Plymouth State University campus touting firearms to protest the campus' ban. The day before their planned protest, a gunman killed two people on the Virginia Tech campus. Perhaps in light of that, the two left their guns behind and showed up on Dec. 9 to argue their case with words only.

That case ultimately fails, however. It is not in anyone's best interest to have the state determine the firearms policy for its universities. Those universities are far more in tune with the nature of their campus community and can make a more informed decision. At UNH, which has had multiple episodes of on-campus violent crime over the past few years, we encourage the administration to maintain a ban on guns on campus.

There are very few people who are actively interested in this bill. Media coverage of the bill has included interviews with students at other campuses who are gun owners and have said it never would have occurred to them to bring a firearm to campus.

The entire affair has the feel of a few lawmakers taking up an unimportant cause of an extreme minority in order to appeal to their base. Even so, 61 Republicans joined with Democrats to vote against the bill (it passed the house by a vote of 180-144).

It will not benefit this campus to have Concord making the decision about whether firearms are allowed at UNH. That is a decision best left to college administrations, and we believe the current ban is in students' best interest.

While this student body is capable of achieving great things, there is no denying the fact that college years are violatile for many people, and making guns easily available in a scene where alcohol and drugs are a constant factor isn't a good idea.

The governor has pledged to veto the bill if it makes it through the senate. We hope that the Senate will stop the bill in its tracks.

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Thu Feb 2 2012 13:44
If you want guns banned on campus, then make UNH a private university that accepts no public funding.
Thu Feb 2 2012 12:45
Stabbing someone and assaulting with a blunt object are both illegal actions-yet they still happened. Blaming an inanimate object, such as a pistol or knife, is the epitome of stupidity, although it is a very applicable term for UNH administration. So called adults on campus are allowed to run amok with alcohol and drugs, but the very BIll of Rights somehow needs to be changed to better serve the interests of the students. I am a student, a supporter of Liberty, and responsible adult, but the UNH admin knows what is best for me, the customer? I think not. UNH a public university, it receives over 60 MILLION a year from the State, and it does not make laws that circumvent the NH Constitution. Bad things happen. Responsible adults know this and get over it. What you don't get over is changing the foundation of law in the US and NH to suit spoiled irresponsible kids at UNH, or the elitist, love the sound of their own voices UNH administration or faculty. Hoplophobia is endemic among the ignorant, or in this case the moronic.
Thu Feb 2 2012 12:39
All government entities are armed to the teeth.It's only the governed who must disarm.
Matt DiStefano
Thu Feb 2 2012 11:02
I am a republican, believe in free speech, and think if you want to have a gun on your own property or to hunt, that is fine as long as you have the proper training to use it. Now, as a student, I am 100% against this bill. There is no reason to have a gun on a college campus. If some old geezers in the senate think this is a good idea, I am sad that anybody voted for them. It would not make me feel safer to let other people have guns on campus. In truth, this is something the people most affected by it should be able to vote on, LIKE THE STUDENTS! I am 100% for having a vote on the campus to see if the people most affected by it would allow it to happen.
Tom van der Shrie
Wed Feb 1 2012 13:59
Your statement seems to be a mix of hoplophobia and the poor self-image you have of yourselves as irresponsible children that cannot be trusted with weapons because you are too "violatile" (psst.... it's spelled volatile) and cannot trust yourselves to behave responsibly in the presence of "alcohol and drugs". Perhaps you'd also agree with banning cars on campus, because of this "scene where alcohol and drugs are a constant factor"? Grow up and embrace responsibility, you are adults now.
Tue Jan 31 2012 17:48
"making guns easily available in a scene where alcohol and drugs are a constant factor isn't a good idea."

Firearms are already easily available. Banning firearms on campus won't stop people from bringing firearms on campus, just like prohibition didn't stop alcohol consumption.

Allowing students to carry on campus can prevent massacres like Virginia Tech; there is at least one documented case of this actually happening, at the Appalachian Law School.

Criminals won't take the time to get a concealed permit or have proper training and won't care whether firearms are banned on campus.

Some may say that college students are too young and immature to be allowed to carry on campus, yet this country since its inception has called on young people, like myself, to use powerful weapons to defend its existence.

Thomas C. Bogan
Tue Jan 31 2012 17:01
The people who oppose allowing "guns on campus" are ignoring 3 things, first, the state sets laws about fire arms, not college administrators.
Secondly they ignore the fact that the only ones who would be allowed to carry are holders of State issued "Concealed pistol permits" who are already carrying arms everywhere else except the "Scholastic victim zones".
Third, there have been no problems in the several other States, like Utah, that permit students to exercise their God given rights.
Unless of course these elitists think NH students are less responsible than in other States ?
Thomas C Bogan
Laconia NH
Tue Jan 31 2012 15:19
More and more, America is wiping the a$$, paving the way, making life WAY too easy and enabling young adults to keep living like children. These young adults will NEVER have the life skills to make it in the real world if we keep sheltering them from the big bad world. Im not entirely sure why the state needs to regulate gun laws on public and/or private colleges and universities - it should be up to the college. I honestly think that if you allow students (ADULTS!) to bring their firearm on school property, people may not commit crimes. Its the same thing if you moved to Bed Stuy, would you go around starting problems and picking fights with the locals if you knew they were all packing heat? I sure as hell didnt.

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