Last month, I reported on the passage of HB 937 (Amend Various Firearms Laws) in the state House. Passage of the bill hit a snag on Tuesday, when the House balked at the Senate’s revisions of the bill. The Senate bill called for more expansive gun rights, including a provision that would allow concealed carriers to lock their weapons in vehicles parked on campus.
The House’s refusal to pass the Senate version of HB 937 suggests that anti-gun hysteria has been effective. Today, 11 UNC student government bodies added to that hysteria in opposing HB 937.
- “If this bill passes it’s basically a gateway to more gun violence.” – Sarah Dickson, Appalachian State
- “College campuses are very volatile environments … I don’t think it would be a good idea to allow concealed-carry weapons on campus.” – Bryant Bell, Winston-Salem State
- “What about tailgating where alcohol consumption is taking place?” – Dylan Russell, Appalachian State
This sort of talk comes to the forefront in gun control debates all the time. Unfortunately, it is based on hysteria, not fact. Let’s go over those students’ points again:
If this bill passes it’s a gateway to more gun violence.
The underlying assumption here is that more guns will mean more shootings. But, in an extensive review conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, the authors wrote:
The committee concludes that existing research studies and data include a wealth of descriptive information on homicide, suicide, and firearms, but, because of the limitations of existing data and methods, do not credibly demonstrate a casual relationship between the ownership of firearms and the causes or prevention of criminal violence or suicide.
In other words, no conclusive link has been demonstrated to show that guns cause violence.
College campuses are very volatile environments.
The argument in the subtext here is that stress- and hormone-laden campuses are no place for guns, because emotional students with access to firearms will shoot people.
Criminologists Don Kates and Gary Mauser, writing in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, debunk that myth:
The “‘more guns equal more death’” mantra seems plausible only when viewed through the rubric that murders mostly involve ordinary people who kill because they have access to a firearm when they get angry … Insofar as studies focus on perpetrators, they show that neither a majority, nor many, nor virtually any murderers are ordinary “‘law-abiding citizens.’” Rather, almost all murderers are extremely aberrant individuals with life histories of violence, psychopathology, substance abuse, and other dangerous behaviors.
Finally, we have this:
What about tailgating where alcohol consumption is taking place?
This point is made ad nauseum in the gun control debate. It betrays complete ignorance of gun laws: in the state of North Carolina, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon and consume alcohol. Opponents of Virginia’s restaurant carry bill – which allowed concealed carriers to bring weapons into restaurants that served alcohol – made the same point. The bill passed in 2010 – and thus far there has been no spate of alcohol-fueled shootings by lawful concealed carry permit holders.
HB 937 is currently in a conference committee that includes members from both the House and the Senate. The committee will work to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. Hopefully, legislators will not allow themselves to be misled once again by the sort of hysteria and misinformation that has become customary in the gun control debate.