Beginning July 1, college students in Kansas can finally legally carry concealed weapons for self-defense on campus – but not everyone is happy about it. Dr. Deborah Ballard-Reisch, a tenured communications professor at Wichita State University, submitted her notice of resignation in an open letter to WSU president John Bardo. She feels that allowing concealed weapons on campus is “in opposition to the values of higher education.”
Dr. Ballard-Reisch isn’t alone. In a letter shared with The Topeka Capital-Journal, Dr. Jacob Dorman, associate professor of history and American studies at the University of Kansas, resigned to protest the law. Dr. Dorman cites the example of his good friend, who was murdered in his office on a Mississippi campus – which allowed concealed carry – as evidence that concealed carry doesn’t make life safer. He also quotes some numbers from the FBI in an opinion piece for The Kansas City Star:
On and off campus, the left-wing radical organization the FBI has documented that civilian gun use stopped only five out of 160 active shooter situations, while unarmed civilians stopped 21 shooters between 2000 and 2013.
These examples can be used to argue that concealed carry doesn’t work, but only if the following questions aren’t asked: Were any armed civilians present for the other 155 active shooter situations? Was Dr. Dorman’s friend armed at the time of his death? A law that allows civilians to carry concealed weapons for self-defense cannot defend those who refuse to exercise the right. Without knowing whether or not the other professor had a gun or if there were armed citizens present for all 160 situations studied by the FBI, there isn’t sufficient evidence to conclude that concealed carry failed in those situations.
Dr. Dorman explains that someone walked into his friend’s office and shot him without giving any notice. If this is how it happened, then it’s unlikely the victim would have had much chance even armed. However, that only suggests that carrying a weapon for defense can fail, not that it always – or even typically – fails. For those skeptical of this analysis, please see the above quoted FBI statistics for five independent examples of times that concealed carry absolutely did work.
What can be argued, however, is that banning guns from colleges and universities has not ended campus shootings. In the only WSU campus shooting in the last twenty years, KSN reported that Isaiah Copridge and Eboni A. Fingal made plans to meet up with Rayan Ibrahim Baba at his dorm room, and then shot him to death on campus. At the time if the shooting, WSU did not allow guns on campus. Baba was not reportedly found with a weapon, which means that he was most likely following the law by not arming himself. The two shooters apparently didn’t care about the law. (Surprise, surprise.) They broke the law both by carrying guns on campus and by committing murder. The gun ban did not save Rayan Ibrahim Baba’s life, but carrying a gun for self-defense could have altered the outcome of this tragedy.
The Wichita Eagle reported on Dr. Ballard-Reich’s resignation and also interviewed Cale Ostby, president of the WSU chapter of Students for Concealed Carry. He considers her decision “really unfortunate.” He figures that she probably hasn’t spoken to anyone planning to carry on campus, and doubts that she knows much about why they feel they should. Cale Ostby and his peers believe they have the Constitutional right to carry anywhere they go – including school – and feel safer when armed.
It is unfortunate that some professors don’t feel secure on an armed campus and don’t understand why a gun free university is not necessarily a safe space. However, perhaps it is for the best that those staff members leave. As Dr. Ballard-Reich stated in her letter:
As someone who has experienced gun violence personally, I do not feel safe with guns in the classroom. I cannot do my best as a teacher, as an educator tasked with supporting students as they challenge and reflect critically on their personal beliefs, as they struggle with relationships and communication dynamics. I cannot guarantee my students that they will get the best from me. I cannot promise I will encourage the growth that they are capable of in whatever directions they choose. I cannot tell them that they are safe to claim their voices, their truths, when someone next to them, who might have a different view, may also have a gun.
If this fear stops these professors from doing their jobs, then they absolutely should quit. If they feel so strongly about living and working amongst an armed citizenry, then they’re doing the right thing by leaving. In a political environment that has seen violence and hatred used as a tool by the progressive left, these professors should be respected for their decisions to peacefully resign – and even for their peaceful protests through their local news outlets. Besides, with each such resignation, there’s one less self-proclaimed liberal indoctrinating our youth with progressivism.
And that’s a nice side benefit, wouldn’t you say?
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