As of February 23rd, 2023, West Virginia’s SB 10, a bill removing restrictions on the carry of firearms on public university campuses in the state, has cleared the final hurdle in the West Virginia legislature. Governor Jim Justice (what a name!) has promised to sign the bill into law when it gets to his desk on March 1st, 2023. While there was some performative whining and kicking from some students at West Virginia and Marshall Universities, the campus carry bill has by and large seen little opposition amongst the population and their duly elected lawmakers…
Contrast this to the response during and after the recent tragic shooting incident at Michigan State University, where a student group used a popular spot for graffiti, The Rock, to campaign for the lifting of restrictions on campus carry. Within hours, the university ordered a student to cover up the graffiti with a generic “memorial” message. For reference, The Rock is frequently used for graffitti of all sorts, and the university rarely gets involved.
Soon after, of course, the usual litany of “do something” lawmakers appeared on the state and national radar, demanding further restrictions. Performative protestors took to the field, demanding “No Guns On Campus”.
OK, I’ll play. You want “No Guns On Campus” – for real? It’s going to make university life suck, more than it already probably does these days. A law and some whining isn’t going to cut it.
No Guns On Campus Means Locking Down – Hard
To be fair, a mere law or policy prohibiting the carry and possession of firearms on a college campus would deter some peaceable people. They’ve signed off a $40,000 a year loan and may not want to risk it. I’m guessing they don’t teach risk vs reward at the school. Conversely, students and outsiders who don’t care will do what they want, as they always have.
My university (the one with the tropical storm nickname) had a no-alcohol policy on campus for under-21s. We had no problems bringing thousands of dollars worth of liquor into our hall every month. There was “security” but they didn’t get paid enough to care about the guys wheeling in computer boxes every weekend. It was the 90s and we were geeks, what can I say? Along those lines, the university was private, and thus had a gunbuster policy. Since it was Florida, the policy wasn’t legally binding and the only penalty would be expulsion with no refund. Some students I knew had guns despite the policy.
The campus itself was and still is open. Anyone in Coral Gables can cross the campus unaccosted, armed or unarmed. There’s security and police, but nothing spectacular.
However, that campus is a poor example for the purposes of discussion. It’s a private institution and they can (nominally) do what they want.
For our thought exercise, the selected institution of higher learning will be the South Campus of Florida International University.
A Hard Gun-Free Zone
For reference, firearms are not permitted on public college campuses in the Gunshine State. As noted in other posts, as far as red states go, Florida has a lot of work to do with regards to the Second Amendment. But anyways…
Florida law expressly prohibits the bearing of firearms on public college campuses. A quick note, I’m not an attorney, but my understanding is the law prohibits the same on private campuses as well, though private institutions can make bans that exceed the proscriptions of the law.
There exists a small exemption. Persons who are lawfully allowed to possess firearms in Florida can stow their weapons in their vehicles in public university parking lots. It’s a horrible idea to store a gun in your vehicle, though if one must, invest in a small vehicle safe. Another exemption exists for students and university employees to possess and bear arms in the context of a sanctioned university activity. For example, Florida State University has a rifle team. While there’s no range on FSU property, I’d surmise that it would be permissible for the team to meet on campus property with their weapons, perhaps for dry fire sessions or a group maintenance class.
The exemption does come into play in our hypothetical hard campus gun-free zone. Hang tight.
Anyways, FIU, being a fairly “progressive” institution in Florida, notes that the law is just a bunch of words on paper, and decides to dip into the endowment to invest in a comprehensive security scheme for the campus. FIU would be a real “gun free zone”.
Bounded by SW 8th Street to the north, SW 107th Avenue to the east, SW 117th Avenue to the west, and SW 24th Street to the south, FIU’s South Campus spans 342 acres south of the city of Miami.
As is evident, there’s a lot of buildings and a lot of parking lots. Also worth noting is there’s often a gun show at the Fair Expo Center, which is technically county property and not University land. But there it is.
Since the law would prohibit FIU from banning vehicle-stored firearms on campus, each building is going to require it’s own security infrastructure. From the Athletics Academic Fitness Center to the Ziff Educational Building, the following requirements would be enforced:
- Controlled access to each building with a metal detector and X-ray scanner for bags.
- Only one entrance, a chokepoint.
- Armed security, either FIU police or private security at each station. The map shows 48 buildings.
During peak times, entrance to the buildings could take many minutes. Think airport security. Got a 9:15 class and your prior ends at 9:00 AM? Tough. Being a college student in the modern United States, you probably hate guns anyways or at least claim to for social clout. Elections have consequences.
In addition, due to the law proscribing that firearms can legally be stowed in student and employee vehicles, there’s always the chance of a armed person roaming through the uncontrolled areas of campus. The walkways, the roads, the paths. Enforcing the “zone” in those areas would require:
Roaming FIU Police. Being a public instituion, FIU has a certified and sworn police force to call it’s own. They have all the same privileges that we the people of Florida grant other police forces. An FIU cop can effect a Terry Stop i.e. stop-and-frisk if they suspect anyone on campus is engaged in criminal conduct. The onus is on the officer to prove they did so within the bounds of the law, of course. This would also mean having to hire more police and potentially private armed security to augment the numbers. There goes tuition rates.
Gunbuster signs everywhere. Gotta keep that message top-of-mind.
Extra on-duty police when that mean old gun show happens every month just southeast of campus property. Don’t want some crazy Second Amendment Radical walking five feet too far north.
The relatively idyllic and modern FIU South Campus has morphed into something resembling a bizarre version of Miami International Airport. Security lines everywhere, roaming armed police officers and private security forces. Random bag checks. Maybe even some of those dogs that can supposedly smell guns and ammo. Nice doggy…yeah right.
The Problems Begin
Performative progressive gymnastics aside, most college campuses, outside of some outliers like NYU where the “campus” is scattered amongst leased buildings throughout the city, exude an air of calm and good vibes. Especially down here in Florida where the weather is agreeable for the most part and the views are bountiful and stunning. Or so I’ve been told.
Roaming police, dogs, hurricane fences, security checkpoints, random Terry stops are going to shatter that vibe. College students overwhelmingly vote for performative progressive nonsense, but they rarely experience the blunt end of the implementation and enforcement of it. To them gun control is nice, but the enforcement of such things happens in those places on the map that say “Here Be Dragons”. Not on campus.
With the broad sweeping powers needed to actually enforce the laws on the books, the police have their hands full. Between dealing with real and false reports of students with “illegal” guns, and the day-to-day of enforcement actions, it’s a little tense.
Most students, having never been subject to the actual results of the policies they love, are suddenly under the microscope. College policy already allows for random dorm room searches, and the police use this authority to the max. To be sure, they come up with few instances of firearms violations, but a whole litany of other petty offenses are documented. Most students violate school policy at one time or another in their lives. Whether it’s booze, the devil’s lettuce, letting a few too many friends crash at your dorm, it’s part and parcel of university life. But not at FIU South. Life sucks. The new cops have to justify their existence, and if they can’t find guns, they’re going to find something. José the engineering major with a 3.5 GPA gets tossed for having some medical marijuana, legal in Florida, but banned at FIU, on his person. Maria the pre-law major with a stunning 4.0 GPA gets tossed for having a bottle of wine in her dorm room. The cops heard her roommate had a gun and decided to shake the dorm down and see what fell out.
Speaking of Maria, her sorority sister, Jennifer, was stopped-and-frisked a little too thoroughly by a bored private security guard. Underpaid and pissed at life, the guard decides to liven things up a little by harassing the comely coeds of FIU South. Girls like guns too he figures, so why not search for them?
Broad qualified immunity protections, at least for the sworn police officers, ensure nothing really changes.
Parents, even the progressive ones, are getting a little concerned about the police-state atmosphere of campus. Sure, they want their kids safe, but it’s getting a little ridiculous. Class schedules are spread wildly thin to account for security delays, and students are taking classes at 11 PM and 5 AM. The kids are miserable and underperforming due to exhaustion and stress. Some opt for online instruction when possible, others drop out entirely and transfer to a friendlier school or leave the university track entirely and just go work for a crypto company and try to ride the Lambo to the moon.
The net result for FIU is a major drop in attendance and thus income. Though the university is a state institution and receives funding from the state, tuition is a vital componet of the budget, and also the state will not fund for students who don’t exist.
The ivory tower of academia begins to shake.
Meanwhile crimes, assaults, and shootings still happen on campus, especially afterhours. The campus is still “open” after all. Suggestions of building a wall and creating vehicle checkpoints surface…
Wall or no wall, students looking to defend themselves have no lawful option. As FIU is a public university and carry is prohibited by law, violating said law can result in the suppression of the student’s Second Amendment rights. It’s not a slap on the wrist, it’s a serious offense, even for the Gunshine State.
Legalize Campus Carry
Amongst other things, colleges and universities have a long term problem in the United States. Potential students who believe in the right to keep and bear arms and individual rights in general are seeking alternative paths in the world. They’re starting up their own businesses, educating themselves online, at little to no cost, using the handheld supercomputers in their pockets. Universities are starting to have a hard time finding customers aside from performative progressives looking for four years of drug use and lectures in omnisexual underwater basketweaving.
And those existing students, in most states, are unable to lawfully defend themselves from enemies foreign and domestic. Yes, even the underwater basket-weaving bluehair has the right to keep and bear arms.
Legalizing campus carry enables someone who is considered an adult by the outside world to fully excercise their rights and responsibilities as an adult. Plus, people who carry with the good intent to defend their own lives rarely make negligent mistakes with their firearms and endager others.
As a fringe benefit, an armed student can be the first line of defense against a tragic situation like what occurred at MSU a few weeks ago. Had a positive gun culture been in place at MSU, potentially an armed student or faculty member could have confronted the assailant, and put a quick stop to the situation. Grant it, the damage the attacker wrought was thankfully small, but it could have been smaller still or even non-existent had a responding student taken decisive action.
To Any College Student Reading This
Students, I get it. There’s a huge social pressue to conform and blend at college. Those pressures don’t go away when you graduate high school. The university experience is kind of the same BS writ large, albeit a little easier since sheer numbers dictate that you’ll find your tribe. Yes, there’s even liberty-focused students on campuses, even today. But the overall guiding hand in university life is a performative progressive one. The prevailing winds dictate supporting massive social welfare, so-called “tolerance”, and of course gun control. The harpies at Everytown have fellow travelers at every college campus.
But students who are fans of individual rights can push back. Get involved. The major 2A organizations all want to spread the good word on campus. FPC, 2AF, the NRA, you name it. Set up a school firearms club if one doesn’t exist. If one does, join it. Wiggle your way into the engineering program and 3D print up some AR-15 lowers. Be out and proud about things. The opposition may kick and scream, but they probably won’t assault you.
I’ll extend an olive branch as well. If you’re a student looking for advice on 2A, firearms, and so on – hit me up at @regularguyguns on all mainstream socials or drop me an email at dv at regularguyguns dot com.
I’m not “certified” to teach so any knowledge I convey is non-permissible for say a concealed carry permit, but to paraphrase a certain prolific dwarf, I read, practice, and know a few things.
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Source link: https://regularguyguns.com/2023/02/28/No-Guns-On-Campus/ by Regular Guy at regularguyguns.com