Tag Archives: Right to keep and bear arms

Campus Carry: Will Florida Legislators Do The Right Thing?

Woman Being Stalked (stock photo from Pond5)

Florida’s “campus carry” bill, approved by the state’s House Judiciary Committee on November 19,  would allow students who are 21 or older, and who possess special government permission slips (concealed carry “licenses”), to go armed on the state’s public college and university campuses. Pretty weak tea, but better than nothing. The legislature should pass the bill as soon as it hits the floor in January, then come back to improve it (by eliminating the age limit and the “license” requirement) as soon as humanly possible.

Yes, I just said that the bill, as written, is too restrictive. Neither violent crime, nor the inalienable human right to self-defense (which happens to have been recognized in the US Constitution for 224 years now as the right “to keep and bear arms,” with no mention of “licenses”), magically disappear when one crosses the line separating a college campus from the rest of the world.

And yes, I know some people disagree. But this issue is not suffused with nuance. One side is clearly right, the other is clearly wrong. Supporters of victim disarmament (they call it “gun control” to avoid the public shame and embarrassment involved in saying what they actually mean) offer a number of supposed arguments for their position. All of those arguments boil down to this claim:

“It is better for a University of Florida co-ed to be mugged, beaten, raped and strangled to death with her own pantyhose than for her to carry a hunk of metal that triggers irrational fear on my part.”

Did I say that one side here is clearly right and the other side is clearly wrong? Pardon me while I correct myself: One side here is clearly good and the other side is clearly evil, or insane, or both.

This isn’t complicated, folks: You can support the right to self-defense, or you can support letting rapists and murderers have their way with the innocent victims you’ve disarmed for their convenience. It’s one or the other, and there is no in-between.

If the legislature passes this bill, Florida will become the ninth state to partially and imperfectly step out of the fantasy world in which victim disarmers would have our children live — or, more to the point, die — as the price of pursuing their educations. Florida should have been first. Florida should go further. And the other 41 states should follow.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.


Crowdsourcing: The Best Defense

Gun photo from RGBStock

Sometimes unfortunate events spark good ideas. Ask restaurateur Art Bouvier. After his Cajun eatery, Papa Roux, fell victim to an allegedly armed robber, he decided to offer a 25% discount to customers who show their concealed carry permits.

“I don’t see that it makes anything worse by letting those people think twice about coming in here and thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, there might be people in here that do have weapons,'”  Bouvier told Indinapolis’s Channel 8 News.

Smart guy. Many restaurants and other “open to the public” establishments have taken, in recent years, to asking or even demanding that their customers go unarmed and defenseless. While it’s a property owner’s right to decide the rules for his property, business owners who truly care about their customers’ safety shouldn’t announce policies that amount, in effect, to “come on, hoodlums, do as you like — no one to stop you here.”

21st century America has become far too reliant on government personnel for security, and far too afraid of non-government personnel with guns. Our history tells us that those are both moves in the wrong direction.

In the late 19th century, the per capita homicide rate in Dodge City, gunfight capital of the “wild west,” was lower than that of Boston, where early victim disarmament — “gun control” — laws were already in effect. What was true then remains true today. The homicide capitals of the nation are the cities with the strictest “gun control” schemes. Conversely, violent crime rates are lowest where the right to keep and bear arms is most respected as a matter of law.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Papa Roux is a popular eating spot with law enforcement personnel, whose presence might deter armed criminals. But police aren’t always there.  And when they don’t happen to be dropping by for lunch, as the old saying goes, “when seconds count, police are always minutes away.”

As my old friend and ideological mentor L. Neil Smith writes, “crime of any kind, whether it kills six people or six thousand, represents a diffuse threat, and can only be countered with a diffuse defense.” An armed populace makes violent behavior more risky and therefore less likely, While increasing our chances of effectively countering it when it does appear.

Crowdsourcing works for security as it does for everything else. And next time I’m in Indianapolis, I know where I’ll be dining out.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.