- The Progressive Pulse - http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org -

Is it disgusting or mind-boggling? Or both?

How can it possibly be that on the same day the NC House votes overwhelmingly [1] to institute roadblocks to voting a House committee approves a bill [2] to expand gun rights? I mean it, how can that be? The Second Amendment to the US Constitution is the only amendment that includes the words “well regulated” and yet it is the only one House Republicans treat as inviolate. This is an outrage. If this bill passes the full House and the Senate, every single person who votes for it will have deliberately endangered every single person on every single public campus in this state.

Against the advice of the university system, the House Judiciary Committee voted to allow people with concealed carry permits to bring their guns onto campuses across the state. The bill would require the gun owner to leave the gun in his or her car while on campus. Guess what? Stealing things from cars in one of the most common campus crimes. Who says? Oh, only the head of security for NC State.

“Jack Moorman, chief of the North Carolina State University Police Department, also said allowing guns on campus was a bad idea. Thefts from cars are one of the most frequent crimes on campus, he said. As well, the campus has experience with concealed handgun permit holders who were either carrying on campus illegally or acting out in other ways.

‘We had an individual who communicated threats to the President of the United States on our campus, and he actually had a CCW permit,’ Moorman said. ‘So, some of these individuals who have CCW permits are not people we feel comfortable about carrying a firearm on our campus.'”

Want more?

“Andrew Moretz, a lobbyist for the University of North Carolina system, said that campus police are trained that nobody should be carrying a weapon on campus. That means even a well-meaning civilian who retrieves a firearm from a car and attempts to help in an emergency might be confronted by a confused police officer who could consider him or her a threat.

‘We see it as more of a problem than a solution,’ Moretz said, speaking on behalf of police chiefs from across the 16 UNC campuses.”

That’s right, there is no training for campus police to deal with armed citizens, be they criminals or good Samaritans. Who will pay for the retraining of those officers? How much will it cost? I don’t expect an answer, I’m sure the House Judiciary Committee doesn’t even know. It may be the job of committees to vet legislation before it reaches the full chamber, but we know how seriously that duty is taken these days. It doesn’t matter anyway because the UNC system has seen its budget slashed year after year and whatever the price tag is, we know they can’t afford it.

There is ample evidence [3] that more guns mean more gun deaths, and there is no question that our nation has a gun violence problem [4]. We average 289 gunshot victims each day in this country, resulting in 86 deaths. The Boston Marathon bombings were 10 days ago and the relentless media coverage of the alleged perpetrators has left little room to talk about the almost 3000 people who have been shot since that gruesome attack. You want terror? We’ve already got it, we just don’t care. The North Carolina House Judiciary Committee really doesn’t care. They want our children to be less safe than they are now. Why?

The day 20 first-graders were literally shot to pieces in Connecticut, I looked into my son’s eyes and told him that will never happen to him. I was lying and someday he’ll know that. I don’t have to endanger him further by sending him to campuses where I know people are armed. Who would choose that? Late adolescence is not a period known for impulse control and good judgment. It’s an intensely emotional time marked by a seize-the-day mentality and experimentation with a variety of substances. That’s a developmental fact. Adding weapons to this heady brew cannot actually result in greater safety. It simply cannot. It is time to start lobbying House members to vote against this stupid and reckless bill. Every parent and every restaurant-goer in this state needs to get to work now.