As a Professor and Gun Owner, I Know Firearms Have No Place on Campus

ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 03:  Dave (L) and Robin Griffiths leave flowers at a memorial along the road to Umpqua Community Colle
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 03: Dave (L) and Robin Griffiths leave flowers at a memorial along the road to Umpqua Community College on October 3, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. On Thursday 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer went on a shooting rampage on the campus killing nine people and wounding nine others before killing himself. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

I watched the Wednesday, Sep 30 evening live stream of the Campus Carry Public Forum held at the University of Texas at Austin. While not a Texas resident, I always enjoy keeping abreast of Texas news because Texans always do things bigger, and it's usually something to behold.

I don't need to rehash the forum in detail. More people spoke against guns on campus than for guns on campus. This seems to be the case in most discussions of so-called "campus carry." In Texas, a law was passed allowing private citizens to carry firearms in most areas of public universities while still giving individual campuses the authority to regulate where said firearms can actually be carried.

If you really need more detail about the forum, there was a great story in the Houston Chronicle.

For years, I've tried to stay out of campus carry discussions because I considered campus carry an overblown fringe issue gun activists use to justify making everyone else uncomfortable so they can exercise their own personal "security." I considered it beneath the type of enlightened discussion that should take place on campuses. Part of me still believes that, but another part of me feels the itch to contemplate the incongruities of campus carry.

The previous two universities I taught at, both of which were public ones, effectively banned campus carry through the extreme limitation of approved carry areas. My current university, which is a private one, outright bans campus carry. The only individuals approved to carry firearms on campus are law enforcement, which, unfortunately, doesn't inspire comfort given the raging police abuse issues across the United States. Still, at the very least, I have a good idea of who has a firearm and the type of training they need to complete in order to protect and serve the university population.

I'm a firearm owner. One might even suggest I'm somewhat of an enthusiast. I find the history, production, and use of firearms fascinating. The rhetoric and language surrounding firearms is both world-making and world-destroying. The invention of gunpowder altered the course of civilization. (If you're interested in the history of firearms, I suggest you check out Firearms: A Global History to 1700 by Kenneth Chase.) I've collected firearms for the last 15 or so years, and I have a family member who was a deputy sheriff for over 30 years. I understand firearms, and I understand their purpose and culture. I was raised to respect and fear the potential of a firearm.

But, I'm also an academic and professor on a university campus. As such, I often approach the issue of campus carry from two points-of-view. At the heart of my teaching are students. I deeply care for my students and feel it incumbent upon myself to ensure they make it out of college intellectually and physically healthy in order to pursue their adventures.

I don't believe my students' chances in life will be improved by allowing campus carry, and, moreover, there is no evidence to suggest so.

I've heard all the arguments about campus carry, and they are mostly facile, imbecilic, and dim-witted. Campus carry arguments typically devolve into diatribes clearly lacking self-awareness. Such arguments are rarely unique or carefully considered. In the end, most campus carry proponents declare their Second Amendment rights under attack, and they should be allowed to defend themselves with their firearms if necessary. The goal of preparation seems to be campus carry proponents' mantra, and I suppose preparation is a good and noble thing.

Still, to listen to campus carry proponents' arguments, you might think university campuses across the United States or, perhaps, even the world are under attack by roving gunmen bent on the destruction of common decency and education. Given their often "gun-free" status, universities provide a silver platter on which packs of raging gunmen can devour helpless and cowering students, and only those few who carry their firearms for personal preservation can protect themselves and, thus, survive.

Woe to me! Who will protect us from the roving packs of gunmen on college campuses? It's sort of like The Walking Dead, except not entertaining and founded on even less sense.

It doesn't matter how much data there is on firearm deaths: There's Centers for Disease Control data; there's Federal Bureau of Investigation data; there's United Nations data; there's American Academy of Pediatrics data; and so on. Why doesn't such data actually matter? It doesn't matter because people who hold entrenched positions and eagerly throw out the tired and well-worn Second Amendment argument aren't interested in data. Instead, they're only interested in their own narrow perspective, regardless of how it affects others around them or society at large.

This is one reason why I didn't explicitly link to or state relevant statistical data from the above-mentioned sources. It wouldn't matter. (Though, if you're interested in such data, there was a lovely article in The Atlantic earlier this year with an excellent rundown. Take a look at it for yourself.)

As with most recent school shootings (which is depressing to even consider), campus carry proponents always trot out their argument and suggest the death and carnage might have been lessened by the single and solitary teacher or student who carried their 9mm pistol to campus on that specific day and jumped to the rescue of everyone else. A quick search of #campuscarry on Twitter will provide hours of non-cogent and despicably-timed arguments from such proponents. Needless to say, suggesting the mass murder of individuals on a college campus would've been lessened by campus carry is sickening.

Not only is it sickening, but it also defies logic. (If any campus carry proponents are interested in logic, I suggest you check out Logic: A Very Short Introduction by Graham Priest. It would help your argument tremendously.) Indeed, how do you argue with someone who will not tolerate your argument? The answer: You don't. There are more productive things to do.

As a firearm owner, I've researched, studied, and enjoyed sport-shooting for years; however, I hold no romantic ideas about firearms: They are tools of death. The motto-which I'm sure will grace some firearm fanatic's tombstone in the distant future -- "firearms save lives" -- is wrong and childish. Everything about firearms screams their designed purpose: to expeditiously dispatch living things. Period.

Education is about life while firearms are about taking life. There should be no confusion about which we should support on college campuses.