Today, Stay Red had planned to discuss Governor Sebelius’ unnecessary veto of the House’s firearm legislation. Due to the previously referenced events, we felt it appropriate to move today’s coverage to a later date.
That firearm legislation would have forbidden local communities from passing their own laws restricting concealed weapons. Concealed weapons were already banned on university campuses, courthouses and state facilities, but were not banned in municipal facilities like ballparks. Some areas decided that the same logic which led the state to forbid concealed weapons on its property also applied to local government land, and they passed their own local ordinances. The Republican legislature wanted to roll that back, allowing guns on county sports fields but not on school fields.
Like Mike, I doubt that concealed carry or gun control have much relevance here. As he writes:
The odds that someone with a concealed carry license would have been in the classroom, ready, and actually able to take out the shooter is somewhere in the realm of near fantasy.
The odds that someone with a concealed gun and permit would have been there, grabbed the gun, and managed to hit innocent students and faculty is somewhat higher. Indeed, if the kid had a permit, no one could have started shooting back anyway until he started his rampage.
Furthermore, had the shooter possessed a concealed carry permit, a cop who saw this disturbed and armed youth on the street would have had no legal basis for stopping him or for taking away that gun until he started shooting (or entered property marked off-limits). Heck, he may have been able to bluff his way past a cop by saying he left his permit at home, and was on his way to get it. That state of affairs seems flawed.
I have no principled aversion to guns. Concealed carry seems largely pointless to me, but I have no real beef with it. I can certainly appreciate its utility for undercover or off-duty police, but I have to say that I like living in a society without vigilantes, and I don’t want random people off the street pulling out a heater whenever things get ugly.
If anything good can come from the tragedy at Virginia Tech, I hope it is a reminder that when we talk about guns, we aren’t just talking about abstractions. Our decisions, the balance that we strike between personal rights and social cohesion, should be rooted not only in broad principles, but in practical observations. We lose track of that at our own peril.