Campus Gun Lobby: Guns Save Lives

The following is a guest opinion rejected by the Daily Paper. We offered this military retiree and self described conservative a shot at GUARDIAN readers. We warned him he is likely to trigger some return fire and be the target of some pot shots.


Last week we had another 4 mass shootings in ‘gun free zones’. Let’s look at
this dangerous idea.
All laws, especially laws that affect fundamental Constitutional rights,
should be reviewed for effect. Gun free zones were created to reduce
incidents of violent gun crime. Can anyone say they have? Can anyone think
of a mass shooting NOT in a gun free zone? This stupid and unsuccessful
policy is killing folk all across the country. It is time for the madness to

Modern ‘gun free zones’ arose as a result of a few postal shootings in the
1980’s. Although that law was ineffective, the notion was expanded in the
early 1990’s to include schools, making them today’s free fire zones.

Recently, a new national organization with over 10,000 members has been
lobbying for more safety on campus. Known mostly for “Empty Holster Day”
last October when thousands of students openly wore empty holsters on campus
in protest of their status as walking targets, ‘Students for Concealed Carry
on Campus’, is asking state legislators to sponsor legislation to allow folk
with concealed carry licenses to carry on college campuses. Six states are
considering it. State Senator Curt McKenzie of Nampa is sponsoring

The politically correct nonsense of depriving citizens of a fundamental
right – the right of self defense – under the canard that college students
are drooling fools, too young and foolish to handle responsibility, has to
end. Folk over 18 can vote, sign legal contracts, marry, pay taxes, be
drafted, join the military, and are expected to act like adults under the
law. In Idaho one has to be over 21, older than the average age of the
Greatest Generation when they fought for our freedom in WWII, to get a
concealed carry license yet our legislators and university administrators
treat these adults like gibbering infants whose potty training is in doubt!

College Administrators pretend that allowing responsible carry on campus is
dangerous. They ignore real instances where armed citizens have stopped such
shootings. Since 97, armed administrators or students have stopped at least
three shooting on campus. No shooting has been stopped by political

Perhaps if folk in the Legislature can get past the emotion-laden dross that
passes as argument against such common sense legislation, we can save a few
lives. It is time for the legislature to act, to remind folk that mass
murder on campus can be fought, and that 21 year old college students are
not addle-minded infants.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I’m all for it. Though, to be fair, they need to make the Capitol building a firearm free-for-all zone as well. Otherwise, it’s just rhetoric.

  2. I believe there are some additional considerations on this issue.
    First, the chance of a student with a CWL being on campus when a situation arises is fairly small.
    Second, the chances of a student with a CWL actually being in the situation to do something is extremely small.
    Third, the chances of a student with a CWL actually doing something to solve the situation (fire the weapon), is by the military’s own estimation 1 in 5.
    Now, it is evident that the chances of an armed student intervening in a life or death situation is incredibly small. Never the less, NO ONE has the right to take the right of self protection away from a citizen! The Universities of Idaho simply don’t have the right to exclude concealed carry by a licensd citizen!

  3. First of all, please provide cites for the 3 shootings since 1997 (10 years) that have been stopped by armed admin or student. If those admin were security or campus police, don’t bother. Second, I was strolling across BSU the other day and I’m not sure anyone would’ve felt safer knowing that those students were armed–especially if they’d already run the gauntlet that is the parking garage.

    This line of NRA crap is insulting to anyone who believes in the 2nd admendment. I have a gun in my home for protection, I have a concealed weapons permit for work and I’ve hunted for 25 years. I’ve never thought I’d feel safer when I’m at a BSU game or on campus for an activity if only I was strapped. With more than 20,000 students, faculty and visitors roaming around the chance that anyone could “prevent” an incident is ridiculous. If you’re trying to compensate for a personal shortcoming, can’t you just buy a Corvette or a Hummer? Will that extra 9mm of girth really make you feel safe on campus?

  4. Yeah, no guns! Students should all carry rocks and knives to throw at anybody who’s shootin’ up the classrooms.

  5. Nick,’s definition of “bear” (as in, “..the right to BEAR arms…”. You remember, right? From that old ratty piece of paper ratified in 1788…) says as follows;

    [ to hold up; support, to carry; bring, to exhibit; show – etc. ]

    You clearly aren’t one of those people “who believe in the 2nd amendment”, or at least not all of it. As the editorial’s substance is debated, let’s try not to forget that the second amendment not only guarantees your right to own arms, it guarantees your right to bear them as well, and explicitly states that that right shall not be infringed.

    As for your comments on compensation…it’s an immature argument not worth trying as anybody could ask you why you get your rocks off killing Bambi. (I guess I can see why you think Jim may want to be compensating if you consider 9mm enough length to be categorized as “compensation”.)

  6. You need to remember a couple of things:

    — you have to be 21 to get a CWP, that means only the more senior students will have the ability to carry as will the staff.

    — the fact that there “could” be folks carrying guns is a deterrent in itself. They don’t need to be used to be effective. The perception that there could be someone that might be around to foil your plans if you are a bad guy will deter them from doing it in the first place.

    How many shootings do we have on Military installations? We have the same types of populations of people…

  7. It is sad and wrong that our society is so obcessed with guns. The idea that we all should carry guns to protect ourselves from other folks carrying guns is absurd, but it does reflect the cowboy mentality of our history. I teach a workshop at BSU. I don’t want people carrying guns in my classroom. That is simply wrong especially in an environment dedicated to the exchange of ideas. If our society has come to this idea of “I’ll shoot you because you might shoot me,” then there’s little hope. As an aside I’m a Vietnam veteran, having served in the Infantry. For my time in the Army I was awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge. I’ve seen all I need to see of people carrying guns.

  8. This is a tough one. Here is the nightmare scenario (for responding cops): Shooter starts shooting innocents,student with a CWL runs to scene, cops show up sees CWL with gun drawn shoots CWL,or focuses on CWL and not the perp who started it. It is one thing to talk about all this but quite another to actually do it. Shooting at targets at a range is WAY different than being in a firefight. Cops have been known to miss horribly while in a gun battle. How accurate do you think those with a CWL will be once the shooting starts? I do know that short of having an officer at every building that there is no way for every campus to be made safe. I just am not so sure that allowing more guns on campus is the answer.

  9. Jim Verdolini
    Feb 22, 2008, 7:47 am

    A cite for the claim that at least three attacks have been stopped by armed students or administrators:

    Appalachian Law School shooting:

    Pearl Miss shooting:

    Edinboro Pa shooting:

    ‘The Owner’ spoken of managed to disarm the shooter by pointing his own shotgun at the kid.

  10. Blazing Saddle
    Feb 22, 2008, 8:58 am

    Horse farts have more substance than Verdolini’s logic.

    The knowledge that other people might have guns, or positively do have guns, is not a deterrent.

    For sweet steamin cow pies, John HInkley waded into enough heat to take out a medium sized armada when he went after Reagan. That didn’t slow him down much. Didn’t do Reagan that much good either.

    Are we supposed to believe these people write up a business plan, and calculate the probability of return fire, before lobbing a few rounds into their sociology class? Of course not. They are CRAZY. And, even if they do consider the possibility of return fire, who is to say they won’t think that makes the act even more enticing. Again, THEY ARE CRAZY.

    And, anyone who thinks that a bunch of of college kids are going to suddenly drop their cell phones, lattes, and lap tops to quick draw their colt 45’s and take out a shooter, may be suffering from a severe bump to the head. Trained secret service agents couldn’t get the drop on a loony teenager trying to impress a movie star. I don’t know why we should expect the members of a frosh lit class to do any better.

    Guns: The fewer the better.

  11. This is not a tough one. This is the most misguided ridiculous response to a serious problem in this country, lack of treatment for our mentally ill. Since Reagan dismantled the national mental health care system we’ve abandoned their care to the penal system which is horribly incapable of handling the issues. Click my name for a great expose’ on this crisis. The irony is that prisons are damn expensive. And now the response is to arm everyone lest the quiet guy next door exercise his constitutional right to own, carry a gun and have an episode? More guns might be part of the problem but they certainly aren’t the answer. What the frick happened to the compassionate side of conservatism?

    I grew up in rural Idaho, used guns most my life, but don’t own a gun. I don’t feel like I’m taking my chances because I don’t. But I do feel like society is gambling big time with people heeding the voices in their head and wandering the streets. I do not think the civilized response by us collectively should be to off them when they turn violent.

    Guns save lives, please. That just makes me laugh. More Orwellian double speak.

  12. Maybe someone can explain why, when there is a “discussion” of gun rights, the “pro” side speaks of inherent rights, the Constitution, Bill of rights and history. The “con” side seems to center on “lines of crap” “horse farts”, “sweet steaming cow pies”. and a hearty dose of penile compensation? While the perspective of academia is that a university is a place for sharing ideas! The problem arises when someone doesn’t agree with their ideas. Are there too many guns? Probably! Are there crazy people that have access to guns? Absolutely! But, as I see it, that still doesn’t give you the right to remove my right to protect myself.

  13. It would seem LOGICAL that a bullet proof vest would offer a lot more “protection” than any firearm could offer. Cyclops, I would never deny you the right to wear a protective vest. Anyone care to challenge me on this: “It is easier to purchase a gun than a bullet proof vest.”

  14. Guardian – thanks for giving Mr. Verdolini a soapbox to stand on. I happen to agree with him.

    The State of Utah dealt with this exact issue, 2 or 3 sessions back. Utah college campuses are no longer off-limits to guns. Unless I missed something, the policy change has not resulted in carnage on their campuses.

    And I’m confident that the prospect of armed resistance will deter a large segment of our society from criminal mischief. (There are exceptions; John Hinckley was cited earlier. But most bad guys would much rather choose easy targets. Nobody in his right mind wants to get shot.)

    If you don’t have a gun in your house, your armed neighbor is doing you a favor. A criminal doesn’t know if you’re prepared to resist with deadly force. (If you’re confident that I’m wrong, put a sign in your front window: “THIS IS A GUN-FREE HOME!” Or put a sign on your college campus: “NO GUNS HERE!”)

    Unfortunately, these sort of debates rarely serve to convince people who have already made up their minds, one way or another. Nor do they result in new ideas or insights… mostly just a rehashing of the same talking points.

    I say try it. If it creates more problems than it solves, the issue can be revisited.

  15. bert farber
    Feb 22, 2008, 3:47 pm

    Dear Sissypuss:

    You say: “Guns save lives, please. That just makes me laugh. More Orwellian double speak.”

    I’m not sure who this bilingual Orwell fella is, but guns have saved lives. Take a look at the Nazis killing everybody in Europe. It took a lot of guns to stop them, which was the only way, to keep them from killing all the other people in Europe. So here’s an example of where guns saved lives.

  16. blazing Saddle
    Feb 22, 2008, 4:15 pm


    I will raise to the challenge.

    Google and Yahoo list many places that will sell me body armor in a variety of configurations and costs. Most of them take plastic, and all of them will deliver to my door. None of them ask for a background check or 5 day waiting period.

    I could find no one who would sell me a rifle, shotgun or pistol under the same conditions.

    EDITOR NOTE– You may have me on the plastic purchase. I was thinking local.

  17. Thanks for your concern and permission Logic. I already have access to a vest (and your correct, getting one is considerably harder than a gun) The problem I find is it has a tendancy to chafe my armpits. So, if it is OK with you, I will just stick with the sidearm. Besides, according to Nick Adams, it’s more gratifying than buying a Corvette! (Sorry to make lite of a serious subject)

    EDITOR NOTE–We’re sorry about the pit chafe!

  18. Safetyman007
    Feb 22, 2008, 4:38 pm

    Good job to Mr. Verdolini for raising this issue. I won’t get into countering the “what if” scenarios posted in this discussion thread as they will be created ad nauseam by proponents of both sides of the augment. What I will do is state the simple fact that an armed citizenry has been, is, and will continue to be a foundational part of our successful democracy.

    The notion that creating a “gun-free zone” on collage campuses somehow increases safety is the feeble schlock of those who prize political correctness in Thomas More’s dream world over the reality present in today’s world. Armed citizens with the proper training will have a chance to stop the heinous actions of those who would, at the whim of their disturbed minds, take innocent life. Unarmed citizens in the same place will surrender their lives or the lives of others because they do not have the tools to act and stop violence that erupts instantly and unexpectedly.

  19. Interesting context Mr. Farber. Hardly one applicable here. What’s interesting though is that when we had all but won the war and had produced a surplus of weapons we nevertheless used them on a civilian population in Dresden and other cities. Last stat I saw was that a half million died in those fire storms, mostly women and children. But we digress.

  20. Jim Verdolini
    Feb 22, 2008, 8:04 pm

    I note we wander afield. The issue is simple. Do we continue a program that has acted to increase deaths and do we treat adults like drooling fools so academic administrators can feel potent and pander to the PC crowd. I do not find a compelling case for either.

  21. Rod in SE Boise
    Feb 22, 2008, 8:07 pm

    What we have here is a classic conflict between two fundamental rights.

    1. The right to bear arms, as provided in the constitution.

    2. The right of a university (or a convenience store, or any other entity) to regulate activity on its property or in its building.

    These kind of things keep armies of lawyers employed and keep the courts jammed up with cases. I support both rights so at my house I’ll be armed and you won’t.

  22. Jim Verdolini
    Feb 23, 2008, 8:36 am

    Rod, well said and I agree about the lawyers. My problem with gun free zones is when someone confuses placing a sign on the door removing my right to self defense, with that owner providing such defense to me. A sign is not security nor is a PC college policy. I have few problems with real gun free zones like the County Court in Boise where we have real armed guards and real screening. They replace my right with a real security plan. Universities replace my right with a piece of paper, and then hide when the result is a mass shooting, blaming the immature students instead of addle minded academics and their enablers in the legislature.

  23. The main problem here Rod, is that you equate public with privte property. State Universities are owned by the citizens, convenience stores are not. Any private business owner has the right to limit weapons on his/her property. RTC advocates then have the choice to support that property’s owners ,or not.
    RTC supporters have the right to carry on public property. As anti-carry supporters, they then have the choice whether or not to seek employment,attend classes or even physically maintain a presence on campus, or anywhere else where concealed weapons are present.

  24. Cyclops, you and I dont always agree, but here we do.

    I equate the Anti-carry arguments with the anti-condom and the anti-sex ed arguments, and hell, also with he creationism arguments in public education…..

    Founded on good intentions, knee jerk reactions, and even a little bit of bigotism by people who dont live , work , or even have a “clue” what the real world is like. Worse, they expect “us” to live in their world too.

    Again, as I mentioned in a much older thread, the fundamental difference between these two groups is discussed in “On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs” By Dave Grossman.

    Some people don’t want to be sheep. The constitution was developed so they wouldn’t have to be. At the other end, Some don’t want to think about it, they don’t want to even be reminded there are wolves in the world, nor no need for protection in their gum-drop world. They (the anti-carry crowd) simply should go around saying…Baaaaa Baaaaaa

  25. OK Nemo, maybe your not completely like my first wife! Maybe just an ex-girlfriend that ticked me off about something many years ago.
    The link is an excellent explanation of the situation. Thanks.

  26. I have to agree with Sisyphus – the well publicized shootings usually involve someone who is off his rocker. It is too bad that these people don’t get the health care they need. On the other hand, I also see some logic in the idea that if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Handguns are so easily concealed.

    I personally have never purchased a gun. I have a gun that I inherited but I have never fired it, nor do I have bullets for it. I live in a seemingly safe neighborhood, and have neighbors who I believe are armed – I have their phone numbers on speed dial.

    In my younger years the guys who liked to bird hunt took their rifles to school in their cars so they could go hunting after school. (Here in the Boise area.) No one got into a snit about it. The problem isn’t about guns but about the attitudes we have about each other. We seem to have come into the fear generation. I worry about getting run over trying to cross a busy intersection. That is a more likely risk.

  27. Yossarian_22
    Feb 24, 2008, 12:07 pm

    This has been a very interesting discussion. I could be described as a “lefty enviro” type that ordinarily wouldn’t be expected to support gun rights. That would be a very false assumption. I have lived in Idaho all of my life. I own several firearms of various types. Even scary looking ones..Yikes! I want to keep my right to owning them and using them in a lawful way. I recently completed a class as a prerequisite to obtaining a CWL.

    Now, with that said, I don’t think either carrying on campus or anywhere is going to make a whole lot of difference either way. The real roots of the problem are like Sisyphus mentioned. Dismantling the mental health system, as flawed as it was and still is did contribute to new social consequences that are not desirable. It’s the economy/health care/access to food etc., that is the real issue.

    I rate the success of a national society by how many prisoners it locks up (and for what) how many police it has to employ, and how really happy its citizens are. The US has some real work to do in these areas.

    In some regions, it may be possible to enjoy a peaceful society with many citizens carrying guns as described by many libertarians. On the other hand, we have seen regions where guns are abundant and flow in like water, and not just pistols and some bolt action rifles, but full on military weapons from AKs, ARs to moartars and RPGs, and absolute mayhem is the result. I think they call it Iraq. Our guys are scared to death of who might have guns. And everybody there does. Has peace ensued? Of course not, because the guns are not the issue…it’s the reasons why people are pissed off and fighting that are creating the demand for high powered weaponry.

    So, just wait until the oil supply goes south some more and gas is at 10 bucks a gallon. Just wait til food prices are through the roof. Just wait til refugees from countries start flowing wherever high ground is because their previous lands are underwater. Everybody will get armed in a hurry for FEAR of losing this or that.

    Lack of cooperation to deal with the real problems coming fast will certainly lead to the collapse of all societies that ignore them. The nations or societies left standing may or may not be heavily armed, but they most certainly will have been heavily educated, can think critically and know logic when they see it.

  28. Sisyphus, what’s your source for the 1/2 million dead figure in the Dresden fire storm bombings? The sources I see cited on Wikipedia list between almost 25,000 and 35,000. The Tokyo fire bombings were much more deadly due to all of the wooden structures.
    I particularly liked the, “all but won the war”, comment. We “all but won” in Vietnam also, look where that got us. Suppose Hitler comes up with the Bomb while we’re, “all but” winning the war. Or maybe you could put yourself in the shoes of the Brits who had civilians dying everyday with the Nazi rocket attacks while we were, “all but” winning the war.
    They don’t call war hell for nothing.

  29. Rod in SE Boise
    Feb 25, 2008, 8:45 pm

    TJ started taking this debate in an interesting direction, and maybe unintentionally, when he (or she) said:

    “In my younger years the guys who liked to bird hunt took their rifles to school in their cars so they could go hunting after school. (Here in the Boise area.) No one got into a snit about it.”

    Back then, whenever that was, the population density in Boise was in balance with the environment and a civil society existed. Parents policed their own children and took care of relatives in need including the mentally ill. Now, I don’t believe we have much of a society, and it certainly isn’t civil. And the culprit is overpopulation, and no amount of police, courts, or prisons can make it civil.

  30. Rod,

    Actually, I’m willing to bet that “back then”, we simply warehoused our mentally ill… just look at the history of mental health care in society.

    Not that I am in disagreement with your general principle that today we suck at it (mental health care). Our tools have changed, but we still do almost as bad. I just wanted to set the record straight.

    Now, regarding the rest of your statement regarding over-population. I would simply state that its not so much overpopulation as we have raised a society of, well, less than human beings. They are not as resiliant socially, physically, mentally, or educationally to deal with todays society of chaos and corruption. I am speaking in terms of the “tools” (coping skills, impulse control, education, money management, family support networks, you name it).

    Bottom line, we have a wounded society, and we are enabling the next generation to fit in to it, rather than survive it, and be better in spite of it.

    Do guns solve this larger problem, no of ocurse not. But teaching responsible exercise of all of our rights, including the right of gun ownership, is essential to “survival” as I describe it above.

    Boy has this thread grown way out of its original contxt.

    -Nemo the well armed fish in a sea of mentally deranged predatory sharks.

  31. Correction on last….

    I meant to say “less than good human beings”, although an argument can be made for the way I wrote it.

    Also Rod, while I pointed our several inaccuracies about our mental health care history, I generaly agree with your overall concept.

    Its too bad today we dont look up to more resiliant people, rather than pop star icon dirt bags.

  32. Blue, my source was Ken Burns’ recent WWII series. The stat wasn’t just for Dresden but for the entire campaign of firebombing civilian targets in Germany at the end of the war. The point of that comment is that more weaponry merely created an excuse to use it since the war “was all but won” and many non-combatants died as a result. I strongly disagree that we “all but won” in Vietnam. Different circumstances, different objectives.

  33. I agree with Bikeboy.

  34. Bike boy is right on. I encourage all my law abiding lefty, commie and anarchist aquaintances to get a handgun and get familiar with it. Take classes in safety and any stressfire courses that are available. I highly reccomend getting a carry permit for them as well. Some have already attended IAWCA (automatic weapon gun club)full auto shoots out in Parma to get familiar with various machineguns and full auto rifles. Talk about the sound of freedom! Koombayah just aint the same after that experience.

  35. lookcloserblindman
    May 1, 2008, 9:25 pm

    guns on campus are a bad idea, especially because we students tend to have a work hard, play hard attitude.
    alcohol+guns = very,very bad evening news
    also, whomever mentioned arriving cops being more likely to shoot the kid helping than the psycho

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