NOTE: The article excerpted on this page is from an outside publication and is posted on FIRE's website because it references FIRE's work. The viewpoints expressed in this article do not necessarily represent FIRE's positions.
Christine Brashier is an advocate and supporter of concealed guns on college campuses. She even attempted to form a gun-rights group at the Community College of Allegheny Country in Pittsburgh (CCAC). Brashier would be the campus leader of a group that "supports the legalization of concealed carry by licensed individuals on college campuses."
But when Brasher tried to distribute pamphlets about her cause, school officials told her that she needed "prior written approval" for "personal contact with individuals or groups related to non-sponsored college material or events."
According to the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Brashier was also told that her pamphlets were unacceptable "solicitation" and that any further efforts would be considered "academic misconduct."
During a meeting Brashier had with college administrators, Dean Yvonne Burns reportedly said, "You may want to discuss this topic but the college does not, and you cannot make us." Brashier was warned that any further efforts would be considered "academic misconduct."
FIRE apparently made Brashier’s case public because they felt school officials were violating the student’s freedom of speech. But, school administrators eventually backed off and now allow Brashier to form her gun-rights group and pass out the pamphlets.
While I do not condone concealed weapons on any school campus, I do feel it is important to respect an individual’s freedom of speech and allow open dialog concerning various topics, even gun control. If a student wants to form a group supporting gun-rights, he or she should be allowed to exercise that right.
There are several different groups on college campuses that support a variety of issues. Singling out a supporter of concealed weapons is not acceptable. Campuses are able to progress by considering the ideas of many. However, the question of whether or not guns should be allowed on campus is a different question.
Carrying concealed guns on campus is unsafe and unnecessary. Students should not have to fear running into someone carrying a gun on campus. Schools should be a place for learning, not fear.
For those who disagree, consider weapons on a larger scale and how the U.S. does not want another country to possess weapons of mass destruction. The reason for that is because the U.S. cannot take a risk and assuming all countries with WMDs are rational actors. So in order to maintain a safe international system, it is best that no other country has WMDs.
The same strategy can be applied to guns on college campuses. Not all students are rational actors, and it is so easy to obtain a gun with or without a license. It would be best to keep campuses safe by not permitting concealed weapons.