Recently I have had the occasion to view television news stories regarding whether concealed weapons permit holders should be allowed to bring their guns on state university campuses. It is amazing to me that this subject is even the matter of debate.
On one side you have members of the state Legislature and right to bear arms lobbies proclaiming that the right to bear a firearm on state property is protected by state law. On the other side, university administrators claim that the above is not so.
In my opinion, the right to bear arms is not absolute. The Second Amendment of the federal Constitution states that one has the right to bear arms, but there is no language prohibiting limitation of this right. Conversely, there are important state interests that are protected by a prohibition of arms on university campuses, namely, the right of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the federal Constitution.
For example, imagine a university campus where the proliferation of arms is absolute. Imagine a campus where the first thought in response to an academic question posed is "am I going to be threatened or shot for responding in this way to this question?" There is no freedom of thought in this scenario. Rather, the right to free speech is stifled by the state-given right to bring one's handgun onto campus.
Members of the state Legislature and the right to bear arms lobbies would have us believe that an important right is lost if concealed weapons permit holders can't bring their guns to class. I would ask the question, what other rights will be lost if guns are allowed on campus?
John C. Heath