second amendment

Alleged ‘campus rape epidemic’ sparks fiery debate over allowing guns on campuses

An alleged “campus rape epidemic” facing colleges today is having an unforeseen side effect – it’s bolstering efforts to allow students to carry guns on campuses.

The oft-cited yet unsubstantiated stat that one in five college women will be sexually assaulted or raped has turned into a battle cry of sorts among those who declare these women should have the means to defend themselves with a firearm.

“Lawmakers in 10 states who are pushing bills that would permit the carrying of firearms on campus are hoping that the national spotlight on sexual assault will help them win passage of their measures,” The New York Times reported recently.

A sponsor of a bill in Nevada, Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, told the Times: “If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them. The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their heads.”

One of the most talked about cases in recent years involves Amanda Collins, a concealed permit holder, who in 2007 was raped in a University of Nevada-Reno parking lot less than 300 yards away from the campus police department.

Per school rules, she was not allowed to have her firearm on her that horrific night, and has since traveled the country testifying about how her firearm could have stopped her rapist.

Florida State Rep. Dennis Baxley told The New York Times “if you’ve got a person that’s raped because you wouldn’t let them carry a firearm to defend themselves, I think you’re responsible.”

Not everybody agrees.

Yale University student Alexandra Brodsky, editor at Feminsting and The Feminist Utopia Project, believes guns on college campuses will only arm rapists.

“We’re talking about why shouldn’t a woman be able to carry a gun to protect herself. But if you’re going to give her a gun, you also have to give rapists a gun, and I think that we can all realize that’s a really bad idea,” Brodsky said.

And writing in Reason, staff editor Robby Soave notes that while he supports concealed carry on campus, “I’m not remotely persuaded that more guns would mean less rape, for the simple reason that the kinds of rape most prevalent at colleges are unlikely to be prevented by guns.”

“Sexual assault occurs at parties, under the influence of alcohol and drugs,” Soave stated. “Students often aren’t aware they are being raped until the next morning—or long after the incident has passed. Campus rapists don’t generally ambush victims in the park, or break into their homes. Instead, they incapacitate their victims and rely on hazy memories to acquit them.”

As the debate rages, it remains a controversial subject on campus. In Baxley’s home state, for example, College Democrats protested his efforts to allow guns on campus.

But there are plenty of students who agree guns on campus should be allowed – for a variety of reasons. pinkgun

Timm Smith, a political science senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said he was critical of his school’s policy, which bans guns from being brought into buildings.

“We as students constantly receive emails and text alerts warning us about violent crimes, sexual assaults, and break ins on and near campus, but the school does not enable us law abiding students to properly secure our persons at all times,” he told The College Fix.

Tayler Studinski, a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, also voiced support for guns on campuses.

“Guns, while often portrayed through the media as being deadly and homicidal, can also save lives in situations involving robbery, assault, and rape on college campuses,” she told The Fix.

“Every individual has something powerful to contribute to the world, and without the fundamental right of protection, their potential and societal contributions could be jeopardized in something as tragic as being in a setting at the wrong time,” she added. “The solution is quite simple: the acquisition of a permit and the right to carry a concealed weapon on a college campus.”

Natalie Baumann, a senior at Edgewood University, agreed.

“With all the school shootings that have happened you can’t deny the fact that a lot of them could have been minimized (in terms of lives lost) if someone else had a gun to take care of the shooter,” she said.

Currently in 41 states it is illegal to possess a gun on a college campus, but in seven states it is legal in some fashion. For example, in Utah, a student can carry a concealed weapon in the classroom, but in Wisconsin they may carry it on school grounds, but not in buildings.

The College Fix reached out to the University of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin Police Department for a statement on their policy of banning guns in school buildings, asking whether they believe it will actually prevent a school shooting. Both offices refused to comment.

But the sight of more guns on college campuses may soon become a reality with at least 10 more states considering bills to remove or loosen bans on firearms on campus, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Virginia and Illinois currently do not allow guns on any of their college campuses, and both have had horrific school shootings in their gun-free zone universities.

On April 16, 2007, a crazed gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech, and on Feb. 14, 2008, a gunman killed six people and wounded 21 more in the gun-free zone of Northern Illinois University.

Lawmakers across the country are trying to make sure colleges are no longer gun-free zones for shooters to cause massacres.

Said Texas State Rep. Allen Fletcher: “Law enforcement can’t be everywhere and these gun-free zones are some of the most dangerous places in America and Texas.”

However, even in the gun friendly state of Texas, education administrators are split on the policy.

Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp has said he feels weapons on campus pose no security risk, but University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven has raised concerns about allowing students to carry gun.

“The real question,” Sharp wrote, “is this: Do I trust my students, faculty and staff to work and live responsibly under the same laws at the university as they do at home? Of course I do!”

College Fix reporter David Hookstead is a student at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

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So this is nuts. The Houston Chronicle bent itself backwards to scare people about Texas’ emerging legislation to legalize concealed carry on campuses.

Breitbart reports:

On February 21 the Houston Chronicle claimed the passage of Campus Carry in Texas could hurt education at colleges and universities and quoted M.D. Anderson’s Julie Penne saying it could hurt “cancer research” as well.

According to the Chronicle, legalizing the carry of handguns on campus “could cost tens of millions of dollars” and that money “could be…siphoned away from education and research programs at Texas universities.”

Using data from the Texas higher education systems, the Chronicle claims that many of the costs would be in increasing university police departments in response to law-abiding citizens carrying guns for self-defense. More “gun safes and lockers” would also have to be installed on campuses and “‘de-escalation’ and ‘judgment’ training for staff and on-campus security” would come at a high cost as well.

“Cost tens of millions of dollars?” Hurt “cancer research?” Wow. That’s a rare level of hyperbole and scare tactics, even if everything’s bigger in Texas.

Read the full article.

RELATED: University of Texas students vote against their own Second Amendment rights

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Tom H. Hastings teaches in the Conflict Resolution program at Portland State University. He also is the director of PeaceVoice, the website of which is probably what you’d expect: a massive conglomeration of race/class/gender articles.

Mr. Hastings has had it with gun violence, and, as such, wants the United States to ditch the Second Amendment.

Wisconsin Gazette.com reports:

This morning of Dec. 25, 2014, of the nine top stories from US Reuters, six were about shootings — four new ones and two about the national movement against shootings of citizens by police. This pandemic of sick violence, punctuated by mass killings of children, has gone on far, far too long. It is long past time to repeal the stupid Second Amendment.

The fate of the Second Amendment should have been sealed when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that past rulings by their predecessors were wrong, that in fact the amendment that provided for a “well regulated militia” really guaranteed every individual the right to own a gun. Wow. That is an interesting reading of the English language. What the Supremes have done is to not only warp the meaning and make it into twisted law, but to further prohibit states and local governments from declaring their places free of legal guns. The conservative court once again rules against the power of states, a principle that used to be associated with darn liberals who wanted to make sure everyone had the right to vote, for example, even though they weren’t properly white enough. Now when a city or state wants to outlaw firearms, too bad. The conservatives took away their powers and rights in favor of Big Brother.

To say that Hastings’ knowledge of history (United States and legal) is wanting would be an understatement. For instance, the “principle” which imposes the Bill of Rights on the states, the Fourteenth Amendment — which Hastings lauds — is the very basis by which the Supreme Court held that an individual is constitutionally permitted to own a gun.

Not to mention, Hastings got wrong the year of that landmark decision: The case was decided in 2010, not 2008. In 2008, the Supreme Court decided District of Columbia v. Heller which pertained only to an individual’s gun ownership in federal enclaves — like the District of Columbia. It did not apply to the individual states.

2010’s McDonald v. Chicago is the case which applied the Second Amendment to the fifty states.

It’s certainly bad enough that a “progressive” like Hastings would like to pick and choose which constitutional rights states and localities should be able to deny their citizens; equally bad is his lack of contemporary cultural insight.

For, while Hastings is correct that the “only logical path … is to repeal” the Second Amendment, currently that task is so daunting as to be virtually impossible. Merely take a glimpse at the American public’s view on guns and gun rights over the years.

Note the historical trend: The last four years have seen record high percentages of people saying “no” to banning the possession of handguns.

The one trend among the public that seems to benefit Hastings’ view is the desire for stricter gun laws — forty-seven percent currently favor such. However, while a mere fourteen percent want less strict laws, thirty-eight percent think current laws are sufficient. Combined, that still puts gun control advocates in the minority.

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Ladies: Be wary if your consort states that he’s a fan of the Bill of Rights, especially the First Amendment. For, he might think that it allows him to legally annoy, troll, and intimidate others, especially on the ‘net.

So says Samantha Allen, a doctoral fellow in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Emory University. (But of course.)

First (Amendment): This could be a huge warning sign. Trolls cite the First Amendment as frequently as college application essays cite “The Road Not Taken.” They think that it gives them the right to verbally harass, stalk, and threaten whomever they want without any consequences. If your man picks the First Amendment, just ask him to explain what it means. If he thinks it means that “it’s a free country” and “people can say whatever they want,” tell him to go back to the playground he learned his politics from and find a new boyfriend.

In addition, here’s what Allen has to offer up about potential boyfriends and other amendments:

Tenth: Your man is passionate about states’ rights. Racists and homophobes love states’ rights. Be afraid.

Third: If he picks an amendment this useless, you should just dump him anyway even if he’s not a troll.

Second: Run. Seriously, just run! Your man might not be an asshole to people on the Internet because he’s too busy being an open-carrying asshole in real life.

As you might expect, Allen notes that guys who dig the Ninth (abortion rights!) and Eighth (he’s against cruel and unusual punishment!) Amendments are keepers.

Read the full article here.

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In a victory for the First Amendment – and a demonstration of the power of a well-timed pressure campaign – a libertarian group at Boise State University that hosted an on-campus event will be refunded a “security fee” charged by the university.

It’s not clear whether the activist groups that warned Boise State will follow up with legal action or further demands on the school, which said it’s not changing its policies on the fees. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, one of those groups, told The College Fix it expects future “unconstitutional fees” to be charged to student groups by the university.

In May, Boise State’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter hosted Dick Heller, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court’s landmark Heller decision that overturned Washington, D.C.’s gun ban, as a speaker on the Second Amendment.

The university originally charged the chapter a security fee because it said a community member had implied he would bring a gun to campus, despite the event organizers’ explicit no-gun policy, as The College Fix previously reported.

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The university has now backtracked and returned the fee, the Associated Press reported.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education applauded the university’s decision in an emailed statement to The College Fix.

But Boise State still has in place policies which can lead to imposition of a security fee and has given no indication it plans to change them, said Peter Bonilla, the director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program.

Despite the rescinded fee, “the issue is far from moot” because Boise State’s continued policies “make it all but certain that other student organizations will be charged such unconstitutional fees in the future,” Bonilla said.

Though Bonilla declined to say what legal action may follow from FIRE – which launched a nationwide litigation campaign against speech codes this summer – he said the group remains “ready and willing to help Boise State revise its policies to bring them fully in line with the Constitution.”

Other groups pressuring the school to drop the fee include the ACLU of Idaho and Idaho Freedom Foundation.

In a letter to the university prior to the fee being rescinded, the ACLU of Idaho called on the university to not only return the fee, but also change its policies for on-campus events. The letter references several portions of the policy that the ACLU says appear to be unconstitutional.

For example, last year a federal judge in Idaho ruled in Watters v. Otter that charging entities for services like security are unconstitutional if applied arbitrarily, the ACLU said. Additionally, the ACLU argued that Boise State’s policies discriminate against different viewpoints.

Boise State’s Conference Services page states that groups that want to have on-campus events must follow certain rules, including: “University Conference Services may require uniformed security officers to be present for events at the sponsoring organization’s expense.”

The page continues: “University Conference Services’ staff will make arrangements to hire security officers through the University’s contracted law enforcement service. The cost will be passed on to the sponsoring organization as part of the event cost.”

Neither the ACLU nor the Young Americans for Liberty chapter at Boise State responded to requests for comment.

Student speech on campus got a boost from a recent Supreme Court decision in Driehaus v. SBA concerning a “false statements” law in Ohio, which also made it easier for groups to challenge free-speech restrictions before they are punished for violations, as The College Fix previously reported.

FIRE’s Bonilla told The College Fix it was hard to say how the Driehaus ruling “might play out” regarding the imposition of security fees.

But the Driehaus decision was encouraging for anyone whose speech was threatened before being punished, Bonilla added: “People whose First Amendment rights stand to suffer under unconstitutional policies should not have to wait until their rights have been violated for the right to challenge such policies to kick in.”

College Fix contributor Matt Lamb is a student at Loyola University-Chicago.

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Robby Soave at Reason has the story on how one university trampled students’ Constitutional rights, and now they’re fighting back:

Students for Concealed Carry, a gun rights group, is suing Ohio State University for maintaining an illegally broad anti-gun policy that prevents students from carrying guns even when they aren’t on campus property—a violation of state law, according to the group.

State law prohibits students from carrying guns on college campuses. SFCC isn’t fighting that. But the law specifically permits students to bring their guns onto campus as long as they leave them locked in their cars. OSU’s student handbook, however, forbids students from bringing guns onto campus at all, even if the weapons are left behind in locked cars, and even “if otherwise permitted by state law.”

Lawyers representing the two groups, SFCC and Ohioans for Concealed Carry, say public universities can’t trump state law and establish even stricter anti-gun policies.

Read the full article.

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