A Mother’s Plea for Its Child(ren)

Truth: I stole that from Tina Fey, my college classmate and friend. Further truth: I did not know her at all, which has only occasionally stopped me from telling people we were friends. She’s so funny! Can’t I wish we were friends and convince myself that it’s true? That sort of thing works at the General Assembly everyday. For instance, the House will take up a bill today that will allow people with concealed carry permits to bring their guns onto campuses across the state as long as they store the guns in their vehicles. If our reps pass it, it will be over the university system head’s objections as well as those of the heads of public safety at the state’s two largest campuses. Experts?! What do they know? Some members of the House want to do it, so it must be a good idea! I know we went over this last week, but I thought I’d offer some fun anecdotal evidence about college hijinks and our gun culture.

Living near UNC has a lot of advantages. The scenery is nice, it’s walkable and bike-friendly, there are many squirrels on campus for the dog to sniff, and there’s always something going on nearby. The students, however, can be a bit mystifying. They vomit a lot after football games. On the sidewalks. They sometimes drive onto nonexistent driveways, also known as lawns, and other times into trees. They laugh really loud at 3 a.m. and frequently have to be told to put their garbage into cans rather than on the yard. Then they have to be asked to roll their garbage cans away from the street. Things that are incomprehensible to the average adult often strike them as tres amusant. Like one morning, after a football game the home team won, I discovered that some wag had placed a condom over the street-crossing button at Cameron and Merritt Mill. Why? Who knows? It’s just the kids these days. They’re bright and shiny and full of mischief, same as they ever was. What they’re not is entirely sensible, which is age-appropriate and, again, same as it ever was. That’s why they shouldn’t come to campus armed. It isn’t safe for them or the people around them. I can only hope that the NC House listens to the experts who are telling them this is a bad idea, but much like the students I observe, many of our representatives seem immune to reason.

This makes them ideal allies for people who have no interest in preventing gun violence. Notice I don’t say gun owners, because most gun owners are in fact, interested in preventing gun violence and support common sense measures that would allow this country to do so. No, I’m talking about highly reactive, anxious people who call someone a “gun grabber” because she supports universal background checks. I’m talking about people who react to every comment on gun violence prevention with anger and alarm. Geez, if you’re the ones packing heat, why so touchy?

Allowing guns on campuses is a public safety issue. If the chief public safety officers are against it, that should matter to every parent considering a North Carolina campus for his or her child. (It should matter to every child considering those campuses, but, as I’ve pointed out, they’re not so much with the common sense all the time.) It should really matter to every member of the North Carolina House today. Guns have no place on college campuses. The point of college is to learn and a lot of learning comes from respectful disagreement. Adding guns to the mix won’t contribute to learning, it will only contribute to fear, which stifles dissent and the acquisition of knowledge. As a neighbor and, I hope, future parent of state university students, I ask the House to respect the campus officials who are charged with keeping our kids safe. I hope I’m not alone in believing that guns have no place on North Carolina’s campuses


  1. Sean D Sorrentino

    April 30, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Asking why we’re so touchy about how you act is a bit like asking black people why they are so bent out of shape about the KKK. You keep trying to take away the civil rights of all Americans. We treat you appropriately.

    We’ll eventually remove all the silly laws preventing carry in restaurants and on campus and you’ll have to suffer another body blow to your constant refrain “there’ll be blood in the streets!!!” Once again peace will reign and you’ll look like the cowardly fools that you are.

    Maybe you shouldn’t spend so much time living in terror of your neighbors who own guns.

  2. Chris

    April 30, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Sean D. Sorrentino, considering how the NRA went against the First Amendment after Newtown, you shouldn’t throw stones about others “trying to take away the civil rights of all Americans”. Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure “all Americans” care more about the First Amendment than the less than a third of Americans who own a gun… or those individuals who own an excessive amount of them for no good reason whatsoever.

    Maybe you shouldn’t spend so much time living in terror that people are out to take all your guns away when legitimate gun legislation is perfectly constitutional and desired by the majority of Americans and otherwise would’ve shut people up until the next person takes advantage of your ilk’s collective delusion and shoots up another elementary school.

    Maybe you shouldn’t spend so much time living in terror that you feel the need to even own guns.

    Maybe you wouldn’t spend so much time living in terror if you would move out of that glass house and stop throwing stones and casting aspersions hypocritically as “cowardly fools” just because they don’t sympathize with you overcompensating with guns.

  3. Doug

    April 30, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    What about the illegal guns that are going to show up on campus. The criminals that are going to be carrying guns are more dangerous than a legal gun owner who locks it in the glove box. How is the law to have an effect on the actual dangerous situation? Answer, it will have no effect. Why not spend your time on promoting some solution to that problem rather than targeting people who have been trained and follow the rules?

  4. Chris

    April 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Doug, that is a fair hypothetical, but rather undone by applying it to reality now— what about the illegal guns that already show up on campus? To which someone would reply that they weren’t illegal guns in Newtown or Virginia Tech or (though not campuses) Aurora or allegedly Tucson (… still waiting for how legal the Tsarnaev’s gun is to add MIT), so… what’s this about not fearing the ‘legal gun owner’?

    Speaking of MIT, regardless of the legality of Tsarnaev’s gun, they succeeded in killing someone, a police officer, who they knew had one. Having more guns circulating on campus would just prove to be a microcosm for what is a problem in the country at large— there are too many guns circulating around. This has nothing to do with ceasing them all, but the ridiculous number out there is making it easier for criminals or those wishing to become criminals to get a hold of a gun, legally (because of poorly implemented laws or lack of regulation) or illegally (by stealing from legal owners with or without prying them from their cold, dead hands). Obviously, gun manufacturers, and its political lobby tool that is the NRA, like this— it’s how they profit, but neither sensible gun owners or those “gun-grabbers” (or “cowardly fools” as Sean calls them) should see any benefit from this nonsense.

    And time was spent seeking a solution, but the NRA succeeded on the behalf of gun manufacturers to stop it. And to answer your final question there— this is why other means are pursued.

  5. Doug

    April 30, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Ok, so hypothetically are you saying there are more shootings by legal gun owners than not? Picking a small population is easy enough when you want to prove some hypothetical point, but overall you have less to worry about if the person has gone to the trouble of background checks and the legal gun acquisition process. You of course have wackos who are going to shoot the place up, whether the gun is in the glove box or in the apartment across the street from campus makes no difference. They are going to do what they are going to do since they will have access to the gun and it is illegal to just carry it around on campus. If this law is passed as is, no one is more or less safe than they were before.

    And your premise that there are too many guns circulating is only a matter of opinion. There are plenty of arguments otherwise that are just as valid. There are just as many if not more situations where the crime was averted because someone had a means to defend themselves. You really don’t see much crime in places where guns can be carried….you see these crimes at schools…..where they ban anyone having guns.

  6. Sean D Sorrentino

    April 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    We know that the Boston bombers gun was illegal. The eldest was barred from owning a gun by federal law (Domestic violence conviction!), and the youngest was barred from buying a handgun by federal law because he was too young. Massachusetts has already said that neither were licensed by the State to own any type of firearm, much less carry one. Add to that the fact that the serial number was scratched off the firearm, a federal offense, and we know exactly how “legal” the gun was. Since all of this is public knowlege, I can only assume that you are waiting to find out only because you are completely ignorant about firearms law and couldn’t figure this out on your own.

    The sum total of your objection is that you don’t want law abiding citizens to have guns. Too bad. Your fear is not rational, and it’s not a basis for taking away the rights of the people.

  7. Chris

    April 30, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Sean D. Sorrentino, your entire first paragraph is based purely on conjecture. I’ll wait for the investigators to come out and state emphatically what is so.

    Your second “paragraph”, we’ll call it, is further evidence that you only peddle in conjecture as well as straw men fallacies, having ignored so much of my two posts to clue in on a few words tossed to the side seeing as how I had four other indisputable examples before casually tossing the Tsarnaevs to the side on my own.

    As I made clear, the only person with an irrational fear posting here so far is you.

  8. Chris

    April 30, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Doug, I was dismissing the hypotheticals entirely, since I don’t particularly care for hypothetical situations which usually leads down a slippery slope. I used the state of affairs as they are. Furthermore, if you want substantive laws passed, instead of “gun-free zone” laws, perhaps you should tell the NRA to shut up and let them pass.

    As for my argument that there are too many guns in circulation, if less than 1/3 of Americans have guns, and yet it is estimated that there are 315,000,000 guns in a population of 311,000,000 then, yes, I can suggest that there are too many guns. Wanna try your counter-argument again?

  9. Sean D Sorrentino

    May 1, 2013 at 7:41 am

    “your entire first paragraph is based purely on conjecture.”

    And you wonder why we mock you every time you open your mouth about guns.

    The youngest was 19. Per the Gun Control Act of 1968, you have to be 21 to purchase a handgun from a licensed dealer.
    “Under the Gun Control Act, a federally licensed importer, manufacturer, dealer or collector shall not sell or deliver any rifle or shotgun or ammunition for rifle or shotgun to any individual less than 18 years of age, nor any handgun or ammunition for a handgun to any individual less than 21 years of age” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_Control_Act_of_1968#Federal_Firearms_License_.28FFL.29_System

    Per the Lautenberg Amendment, anyone who is convicted of a Domestic Violence misdemeanor is prohibited for life. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lautenberg_Amendment

    The oldest of the two was convicted of domestic battery. http://washingtonexaminer.com/report-boston-bomber-could-have-been-deported/article/2527666

    The Mass police have already said that neither brother had a Massachusetts Firearms ID Card. http://washingtonexaminer.com/report-boston-bomber-could-have-been-deported/article/2527666

    In Massachusetts, you can’t even own a firearm without a FID. http://www.mass.gov/eopss/firearms-reg-and-laws/frb/possession-info/residents.html

    This means that they couldn’t have legally purchased a firearm from anyone else either. It’s illegal to sell firearms privately in Massachusetts http://www.mass.gov/eopss/firearms-reg-and-laws/frb/firearms-transactions.html

    And finally, the firearm serial number was “obliterated” http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/single-gun-recovered-accused-boston-bombers/story?id=19028841

    Which is a federal crime http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_Control_Act_of_1968#Marking_Requirements

    AND a crime in Massachusetts http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter269/Section11b

    So no, not conjecture at all.

    Chris, maybe you should learn about firearms law before running your mouth in public about guns ever again.

  10. Doug

    May 1, 2013 at 11:18 am

    A gun/person ratio is irellevant. You can apply that to cars, welfare dollars spent, certainly taxes paid….so what is your point?

    Good stuff, but this site does not respond well to facts.

  11. Chris

    May 1, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Sean D. Sorrentino, “why we mock you”? Who is this ‘we’? You’ve been the only person mocked so far, and quite well, I must say.

    Your laundry list of goal-post moving distractions change nothing from the points of either of my post, points that at least Doug has the decency to attempt to counter. You, on the other hand, are, to use a metaphor, bringing a spoon to gunfight and really pose no legitimate threat to my expertise with your broken logic, fallacies, and the like. Do kindly keep flailing about though. It’s funny in a pathetic, vapid sort of way. And it still proves nothing as to how he got his gun. So go get ’em, tiger!

    Doug, my point was that there are too many guns. That point remains unchallenged. When there is a 1:1 ratio and yet less than 1/3 of the population actually owns at least one gun, then there are too many guns— great for criminals and gun manufacturers (both of whom are happy for the NRA), not for the rest of us. For you see, as Sean continues down the rabbit hole, he is actually proving this point— the ease in which Tsarnaev got his gun, if it were obtained illegally, is brought about because there are too few regulations to properly track the far too many guns in this country. Simple, right?

    Thanks for playing, you two.

    Gun rights advocates are fail. Surely, surely you can bring in someone better.

  12. Sean D Sorrentino

    May 1, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Doug, You are right. Facts don’t matter. Chris will wave his hands and declare them “distractions.” He doesn’t care about gun laws, he wants to sit and wait for “authority” to tell him what to believe.

    He believes that if you just call people on the phone, they’ll give you accurate info about how many guns they own. Since most of my gun owning friends would tell the pollster to get stuffed, their polls vastly understate the percentage of gun owning Americans.

    I take solace in the fact that he’s losing in the real world. There are more guns, way more CHPs, and new shooters learning every day. Meanwhile his pipe dream of super strict gun control, Massachusetts, couldn’t keep a pair of idiots from building a couple of bombs and getting guns.

    And you have to assume that all of Watertown, MA sat in their homes all through the “lockdown” wishing they had guns in case the terrorist kicked in their door.

    His victim disarmament lobby gets smaller every day.

  13. Doug Gibson

    May 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    And you have to assume that all of Watertown, MA sat in their homes all through the “lockdown” wishing they had guns in case the terrorist kicked in their door.

    Wow. This guy really is disconnected from reality, isn’t he? Why would anyone assume that? Myself I’d put greater odds on Watertown having a baby boom nine months from now.

  14. Chris

    May 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Sean D. Sorrentino, you arguing against strawmen is rather pathetic. Whenever you care to actually respond to anything I’ve asserted — ANYTHING AT ALL — feel free to do so. It will be a first, … that is, if you ever actually do it.

  15. Chris

    May 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Doug Gibson, I guess it depends on how many gun sales have occurred there in the last week or so, right?

  16. Roger U

    May 5, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Seems to me, if college students are so drunk and stupid, we probably shouldn’t let them drive or vote, either.

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