A bill moving through the Oklahoma Legislature would allow college presidents and leaders of career technology centers to develop a policy allowing licensed gun owners to carry weapons on their individual campuses.
House Bill 2887, sponsored by state Rep. John Enns, an Enid Republican, was approved by the House last week in a 52-39 vote and is now under consideration in the Senate.
It’s an extremely bad bill that intentionally keeps the door open for allowing students to carry weapons on the state’s campuses. Although it seems unlikely a college president or a career tech leader would develop such a policy, it’s obviously not out of the question here in Oklahoma. Once one campus has allowed guns on campus, it could create political pressure for other campuses to follow suit.
Right now, colleges and career tech schools can allow individuals to carry guns on campus with written consent.
Some Oklahoma legislators have pushed for guns on campuses for several years, using the argument that it would make colleges safer in light of the spate of school shootings throughout the country. The idea is that an armed student or faculty member might be able to stop a shooter.
The push for guns on campus has also been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, which uses the Second Amendment as a political cudgel that often defies basic common sense.
How would those armed students or faculty members, who are not trained as law enforcement officers, actually react if there was a shooter on a campus? What if they killed the wrong person or misjudged the situation? What if a gun carried in a backpack accidently fires and kills someone? What if students intimidate faculty members or other students with their weapons? What if a student becomes distraught or stressed out and makes a terrible decision in one awful moment to fire their gun in a classroom?
College presidents and faculty members have voiced their opposition to guns on campus throughout the years for these reasons and more.
Here’s the bottom line: We need books and computers in classrooms, not guns.
Even the Old West had stricter gun control laws than we do now in this country, and especially in Oklahoma. Let’s hope the Oklahoma Senate embraces this country’s Old West heritage and stops this bill from becoming law.
Here’s the Facebook page for Oklahoma College Faculty Against Guns On Campus.