I know that myself and the folks at Everytown for Gun Safety in America are never going to see eye-to-eye on gun policy. I mean, we’re diametrically opposed on the issue, so common ground isn’t likely.
Take guns on college campuses.
It’s no surprise that they vehemently oppose measures that allow campus carry and support colleges’ right to restrict the carry of firearms on their property. They see guns as bad and can’t imagine any way this could be a good thing.
I get it.
But they have some unkind things to say about college students in the process.
The vast majority of states and colleges prohibit guns from being carried on campus either by law or choice. However, in recent years the gun lobby has pushed legislation to force guns onto college campuses against the wishes of most students, staff, and campus law enforcement. There is no evidence that allowing guns on campuses reduces crime or makes campuses safer. In fact, campuses are already incredibly safe and adding guns to the mix only makes them less so.
Colleges are places of learning and students should be free to express their opinions and learn without the fear of another student carrying a gun to a lecture or at a tailgate. Colleges also have unique risk factors—increased rates of mental illness, and prevalent drug and alcohol abuse—which make the presence of guns potentially deadly.
In other words, college students are too crazy, drunk, and drugged out to be trusted with firearms.
Now, let’s understand that campus carry doesn’t change the age of who can carry in any state. That means, generally, someone 21 or older.
If these increased rates of mental illness, as well as drug and alcohol abuse, were so high, banning campus carry would have minimal impact on things. After all, no one can carry on campus who can’t carry off campus, yet where are these problems?
Everytown provides a couple of examples, of course. One in 2012 and one in 2019. In ten years, they could only provide two concrete examples of any kind of accidental or negligent discharge despite campus carry being enjoyed by tens of thousands of people.
But they also suggest that some people–LGBT and black students–are afraid and that is grounds for restricting guns on campuses.
Again, nothing is legal on campus that is illegal off campus. If these people are afraid, then they are going to live in fear for the rest of their lives.
The truth is that campus carry has a pretty good track record. Everytown can’t provide statistics that show otherwise, and when you consider how heavily biased gun research is, that’s saying something.
Yet let’s circle back to the descriptor they give of college campus life.
First, let’s talk about mental illness. I’m frankly sick of this bugaboo being brought up as grounds for gun control.
You see, not all mental illness is created equal. Mild depression or anxiety isn’t the same as being a psychopath. By bringing up mental illness in this context, they’re equating those with serious problems with those who aren’t dealing with the stress and strain of college quite as well as their peers.
That’s absolutely disgusting.
Everytown cites a statistic claiming one in 10 college students seriously consider suicide, for example. First, understand that eliminating campus carry doesn’t eliminate suicide. People can still buy guns and still kill themselves with one if they so desire.
Additionally, “seriously considering” suicide doesn’t mean about to kill yourself. Plenty of people seriously consider suicide, have the means to do so, and then never do. They don’t consider it long or don’t step beyond consideration.
Further, even in campus carry states, not everyone eligible student is going to even own a gun, much less opt to carry one. The overlap between people suffering from mental illness and carrying a gun is going to be fairly small simply due to probabilities.
But Everytown doesn’t want you to think about that.
Nor do they want you to recognize that those who use illicit drugs are already legally barred from owning a firearm ready, thus negating that entire argument.
At the end of the day, Everytown is hoping the youth vote helps them push gun control down the nation’s throat, but they clearly don’t think too highly of their college-aged allies, now do they?
Hat tip: The Truth About Guns