To the Editor:
Erik Gilbert’s anecdotal reasons for dropping one’s fear about concealed weapons in the classroom since “If you really think there are no guns on campus in Texas, or elsewhere, because a law forbids having guns on campus, you are mistaken,” is a shallow and thoughtless view of campus workplace, student safety, and higher-education culture (“Stop Worrying About Guns in the Classroom. They’re Already Here,” The Chronicle, March 17). The notion that since students already carry in your classroom proves that no danger could possibly be present because nothing has happened is pathetic and self-righteous. He assumes we should accept the gun culture just because it’s there. Heroin users sit in classrooms too. Should we legalize dangerous drugs?
I am a lobbyist who has been fighting this issue in Florida for two years, and his perspective lacks consideration for people not raised in a gun culture. He also dispenses the NRA argument held by politicians and proponents of campus carry that it’s all right to carry on campus because concealed weapons permit holders are the most law-abiding citizens among us. Yet he throws them all under the bus by stating, “Because permit holders’ guns will be concealed, any guns in your classroom will remain invisible, just as they have been.” Then I would say those folks are not law-abiding. His argument disregards human emotions and the potential for gun accidents in other workplaces and environments on our campuses other than classrooms.
The chance of getting cancer from second-hand smoke is low, yet we have outlawed campus smoking for public-health reasons. It may be true the odds of an incident on campus caused by a concealed carrier remain low. However, research indicates that when more guns are infused into a workplace, the likelihood of an incident increases five to seven times. Those aren’t acceptable odds. Current laws protect our campuses from guns, and knowing guns are not permitted in classrooms, the library, etc. gives me great comfort; Mr. Gilbert’s assumption that we should accept campus carry and drop our fears because some people choose to break the law, does not.
Michael P. Brawer
Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director
Association of Florida Colleges