No More Sitting Ducks: An Argument for Concealed Carry at UM

Trigger warning: some insensitivity to gun-phobia, as well as calls to end safe spaces for shooters are explored.

There is no such thing as a safe space from shooters, but gun-control advocates have succeeded in creating a safe space for shooters. When quacks like Nikolas Cruz want to massacre innocent people, like what occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week, there’s no time to wait on a 911 call. Law enforcement response times are too slow. According to research from the Department of Homeland Security, the average school shooting lasts 12.5 minutes, while the average police response time is 18 minutes.

Even the presence of assigned deputies at school is no guarantee of survival, as the Coral Springs Police Department confirms, alleging 4 deputies were in range, but didn’t confront Cruz at the scene of the crime. The result: 17 innocent souls lost, and not even a day went by before the NRA and law-abiding gun owners were villainized by the media. Understandably, outrage is a natural outgrowth of grief, but must be directed by reason and toward the killer, not toward law-abiding citizens – as if defending the Second Amendment makes them accessories to the crime. What should be an outrage is that, in the first 12.5 minutes of an active shooter crisis, everyone in the building is free game for the shooter.

It should comfort no one to know that, at the University of Michigan, there is an absolute ban on carrying a concealed weapon on campus, barring a waiver by the Chief of Police for “extraordinary circumstances”. That means even if student veterans, active military, or former police officers who are trained in the proper handling of firearms and hold a valid State license wish to carry, they can’t. I suppose the increasing occurrence of garden-variety crooks shooting up schools full of disarmed victims is not extraordinary enough. Short of shouting loudly, throwing items, running, or barricading yourself and others in a room, you would be utterly defenseless if an active shooter occurred at the University. This should alarm everyone.

The solution should be simple: allow certain students and faculty on campus, who are trained and licensed in handling weapons – like active military — to voluntarily carry concealed so they can be a first line of defense in a crisis.

The solution should be simple: allow certain students and faculty on campus, who are trained and licensed in handling weapons – like active military — to voluntarily carry concealed so they can be a first line of defense in a crisis. To ensure maximum safety, give them background checks and routinely evaluate their proficiency and safety standards. The counterargument is equally simple, but uniquely foolish: leftists equate more guns with a higher risk of shooting incidents. The facts, however, don’t merit this gun-phobic claim.

Before jumping on the gun ban bandwagon, we should get our ducks in a row and look at the raw facts. First, statistics show an inverse relationship between gun supply and gun violence. Far fewer individuals are killed annually by firearms than are slain by automobiles. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2010 cites that “33,808 traffic related deaths occurred, and an additional 10,839 were caused from drunk driving.” That same year, the FBI recorded that only 8,775 murders involved firearms. When you compare these statistics, from a total of 136,000,000 automobiles owned and a total of 270,000,000 firearms, the rate of murder per 100,000 firearms owned is one fiftieth the rate of murder per 100,000 automobiles. Given that limiting firearms because they are far too dangerous is the crux of the gun-control advocate’s argument then, by this data, automobiles are more lethal and should be banned first. They can even be weapons for terrorists, as we saw in the 2016 car attack in Nice, France. What if we try to apply gun control language to these cases: perhaps ban only certain kinds of cars? Maybe we should just ban cargo trucks? Of course, automobiles provide transportation, which is crucial to society’s function. So, too, are firearms crucial to society’s self-defense.

A time-tested study from Kennesaw Georgia highlights how profoundly firearms deter would-be criminals. In 1982, Kennesaw passed a law requiring each household to own at least one firearm. That year, crime against persons plummeted to 74 percent compared to ’81, and fell another 45 percent in ’83 when compared to crime levels from ’82. To this day, Kennesaw is “murder free.” Furthermore, in a recent study of convicted felons, 60 percent admitted they avoided committing crimes when they knew the victim was armed, and 40 percent of those same felons reported they avoided committing a crime if they had merely suspected the victim was armed (page 27). All this should lead us to conclude that signs declaring a building gun-free succeed only in repelling law-abiding (CCW) permit holders, while glowing like a giant neon sign  for criminals, reading “Safe Space for Shooters.” Of note, 98% of public mass shootings take place in gun-free zones. Despite these troubling facts, leftists still want to clip our wings as citizens, enabling mass shootings; our laws and their underpinning philosophy, however, forbid this.

What about the right to defend ourselves in the face of a mass shooting? What about our negative right to demand spaces in which our ability to defend ourselves is not so restricted? At UM, an unabashedly proud gun-free campus, one of too many likewise campuses in the US, this liberty has been marginalized.

That we have a right to carry a firearm is not only enshrined in the Second Amendment, but was further affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States in “District of Columbia Et Al Versus Heller.” Indeed, empiricist John Locke, who’s thought inspired the philosophy of our constitution, went as far to write, in his “Second Treatise of Government,” that, “every man…has the power to kill a murderer, both to deter others from doing the like injury…and also to secure men from the attempts of a criminal who…by the unjust violence and slaughter…declared war against all mankind; and therefore may be destroyed.” Even Alexander Hamilton, almost defaced from the $10 bill before liberals fell in love with the Broadway musical on his life, boldly declared in Federalist No. 29 circa 1788, that no threat can intimidate citizens, “little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens.”

What about the right to defend ourselves in the face of a mass shooting? What about our negative right to demand spaces in which our ability to defend ourselves is not so restricted? At UM, an unabashedly proud gun-free campus, one of too many likewise campuses in the US, this liberty has been marginalized. We can’t be afraid of ruffling the feathers of the gun-phobic UM command structure. We must get tough and end safe spaces for shooters, arguing to expand concealed carry on campus. We must be jealously protective of our own lives and those of our peers, and be prepared to violently defend them, lest we be prepared to violently lose them. The University of Michigan can no longer ask us to be sitting ducks.

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