Disallowing the possession of firearms in any public space, including public colleges and universities, is a direct assault on the liberties granted to every American citizen. While private institutions, such as Occidental, are capable of establishing their own restrictions, the government cannot impose restrictions on Constitutional rights at public universities.
There is no debate over the meaning of the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights. In D.C. v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court determined that the second amendment guaranteed the individual’s right to bear arms. Consistent with the founding fathers’ intentions, the high court’s decision is irrefutable.
Some states have attempted to restrict the individual’s right by asserting that a “good cause” is necessary to carry a firearm. Imagine if a “good cause” were required to exercise the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, such as freedom of speech or religion.
“A citizen may not be required to offer a ‘good and substantial reason’ why he should be permitted to exercise his rights. The right’s existence is all the reason he needs,” U.S. District Judge Benson Everett Legg wrote in his decision of Woollard v. Gallagher (2012).
Legg explains that proof of impending danger is not required to be permitted to carry a gun. If the right to bear arms is weakened, all other liberties will inevitably follow.
The Second Amendment is an insurance policy of the people against the federal government’s desire for power. The right of the people to keep and bear arms instills a sense of trust between the citizens and their government; it enforces the social contract. By allowing its citizens to bear arms, the government trusts that its citizens will not orchestrate a rebellion so long as it acts according to the will of the people and within the bounds of the Constitution.
America’s degradation is evident in the infiltrating bureaucracy: From surveillance to excessive welfare programs, the government’s oversight and coddling limit every citizen’s freedom and agency. Reminiscent of the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville, the growth of the nanny state will, at best, produce a benevolent tyranny.
“[Tocqueville] suggested that a future American democracy might eventually combine an ‘orderly, gentle, peaceful slavery’ with the ‘external forms of freedom’ (as opposed to freedom itself),” wrote Chuck Chalberg in an article for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The only way to protect all of the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution is by first protecting the individual’s right to bear arms.
Consequently, the argument that gun control will improve public safety is entirely irrelevant. The danger of an American citizen utilizing their right to bear arms to kill innocent civilians is far outweighed by the threat of despotism.
Even so, our society is safer when the right to bear arms is protected. No individual has the power to control another through force if everyone has a firearm.
The age-old argument stands true: laws do not apply to criminals. If only one individual, a criminal, possesses a firearm, then they have the power to use force against anyone who does not. If citizens are permitted to protect themselves by exercising their right to carry firearms, then the criminal cannot exercise control.
The same is true on the campuses of public colleges and universities. The right to carry a firearm would eliminate the unfair advantage granted to any violent attacker, instead providing would-be victims with the ability to defend themselves. For this very reason, 10 states are pushing forward legislation to remove restrictions; nine states already allow guns on campus.
Stripping citizens of their ability to protect themselves cannot make society safer. Restrictions on the right to bear arms only serve to leave law-abiding citizens vulnerable and defenseless against threats of violence and tyranny.
Dylan Bordonaro is a junior Politics major. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @spospolmedia.