This item has appeared on the website of KAIT in Jonesboro, Arkansas:
“Arkansas State University is yet another institution to opt out of the new state gun law. The board of trustees met Thursday to discuss the proposal that would allow faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns on campus under the law.
“The University of Arkansas Board Of Trustees also voted unanimously Thursday to ban concealed firearms on campus. The bans will apply to UA’s 11 campuses and ASU’s four campuses. Arkansas Tech University’s board was also voting on its policy regarding the gun law.
“Most colleges and universities around the state have opted out of the new law, citing recommendations from campus leaders and security officials. The law requires public colleges and universities to revisit the policy annually if they opt out.
“Under the new law, private colleges and universities can also opt out but don’t have to revisit the policy annually.”
The requirement in the new state law that public institutions that choose to continue the longstanding prohibition against guns on campus must revisit their decision annually suggests that there has been considerable political pressure for the institutions to change their policies. So this decision speaks well for the administrations of the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University systems, who have, it seems, been able to keep the longer-term best interests of their institutions in perspective.
Elsewhere, in Rhode Island, until now the only state that has prohibited campus police from carrying guns, a new state law will apparently remove that prohibition. Despite the assertions by gun advocates that I am simply against anyone’s carrying guns not just on campus but anywhere, I think that allowing the campus police to be armed makes sense. Assuming that the campus police have gone through the training mandated for municipal police, sheriffs’ deputies, and other law enforcement. I think that armed campus police enhance public safety.
And I will stand by that position despite the recent case involving the tragic death of Hofstra student Andrea Rebello. Along with her twin sister and several others, Rebello was taken hostage in their off-campus apartment by a career criminal who attempted to rob them at gunpoint. He was wanted for violating the terms of his parole on a sentence for robbery, and it was a crime of opportunity. The occupants of the apartment had been bringing some things into the apartment, and the door had been left unlocked.
Shortly after the incident began, one of the people in the apartment managed to get out and call police, who arrived at the scene fairly quickly.
When the assailant was confronted by police, he pulled Rebello in front of him and held her in a headlock with his gun to her head. When he then began to move the gun in the direction of the police, one of the officers shot at him. Several of those shots hit him, but one of them hit Rebello mortally in the head.
There is no evidence that I know of that the officer who inadvertently killed Andrea Rebello did anything wrong. Indeed, one can assume that, even if this officer did things entirely “by the book,” this shooting will haunt him for the rest of his life.
Given the proliferation of weapons in our society, armed law enforcement may be very necessary for civil order, but the tragic death of Andrea Rebello demonstrates that firearms are a very dangerous and unpredictable defense of last resort, even in the hands of formally trained professionals.