Why Guns on Campuses Are a Bad Idea

I don’t wish to exaggerate the illustrative implications of a single incident, but the following story from the Washington Post does suggests many of the most obvious reasons why permitting guns on our campuses is a dangerous idea:

“Washington College closed its Maryland campus Tuesday morning until further notice as police and the FBI intensified the search for a “despondent” sophomore who is believed to be armed.

“It was the second day the Eastern Shore campus has been on high alert, going from a shelter-in-place order Monday to a full evacuation on Tuesday. Authorities are trying to find Jacob Marberger, whose parents called college officials early Monday to report that he had left their home in Pennsylvania with a gun and that they were not able to reach him.

“Marberger was a leader in student government on campus, the speaker of the senate, and a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. But things began to unravel for the 19-year-old this fall, according to college and law-enforcement officials. In October, he got in trouble for allegedly brandishing a handgun while drunk at his fraternity house.

“Marberger was suspended from school for a week and a half after an investigation by campus police and returned to his home in the Philadelphia area. He was kicked out of his fraternity because of the incident, resigned his office with the student government association and faced a possible expulsion, according to school officials.

“Concerns this week began with postings on social media overnight Sunday into Monday, police confirmed, and escalated when Marberger’s family called the school. They said he had taken a rifle case from their home. . . .”

The full story, by T. Rees Shapiro and Susan Svriuga is available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/11/17/washington-college-locks-down-again-tuesday-morning-as-search-for-armed-student-continues/.



One thought on “Why Guns on Campuses Are a Bad Idea

  1. Probably worth taking a minute here to anticipate two arguments from gun-lovers.

    1. If the college already has a policy of not allowing guns, clearly it didn’t work if he had the gun at the frat house [a rough paraphrase of the “criminals don’t follow laws so why bother having them” argument].

    2. Other armed students could stop him before he hurt more people if he started shooting.

    The first of those is ridiculous on its face, just like always. Even if laws don’t deter law breakers, they criminalize behaviors. Duh.

    The second requires an act of imagination. Imagine being in that frat house. Drunk dude whips out gun. A few people see it, and start yelling “He’s got a gun!” A bunch of other drunk dudes whip out their guns, and without being able to see well or to aim well (because they’re drunk) decide (poorly, because they’re drunk), to start shooting pretty much anything they can sort of see.

    Granted I haven’t been at a frat party since I graduated college in 1990, but I’m hard pressed to believe they’ve gotten calmer, safer, and soberer.

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