As you have no doubt heard, yet another instance of mass murder has been perpetrated at a university campus, this time at Virginia Tech. Reports indicate that more than twenty victims perished in the crime spree, which went on for more than two hours.
Michigan State University is not so different from Virginia Tech. Like Virginia Tech, MSU resides in a state that allows for the legal carrying of concealed firearms by licensed citizens. MSU also advertises itself as staunchly anti-violence and anti-firearm, going to far as to have a University policy indicating that no firearms are allowed on campus (MCL 28.425.01).
I would like to draw your attention to this "no firearms" policy. Think for a moment about any school shooting you have heard of. Invariably, that campus was a designated "no firearms" campus. That campus was advertised as having nothing but disarmed people. That campus was, by policy, a designated free-fire zone for criminals who, by definition, disobey laws and policies as not being worth the paper they're written on. No amount of bureaucratic paperwork could have stopped any school shooting, from Columbine to Virginia Tech. Why? Because disarmament of those who would legally carry firearms for self-defense and protection of life has been so successful. That's a good thing, right? Wrong.
Criminals do not obey signs. They ignore policies. They laugh at the idea that a chosen area of attack is known to be devoid of the ability to resist by virtue of an advertised "no weapons" policy. By University policy, criminals gain but students lose. By what standard does MSU choose to disarm all law-abiding citizens on campus, to the detriment of safety and security?
In light of the recent murders at Virginia Tech University, I am concerned about the possibility of a shooter on MSU's campus. It would be trivially simple for a criminal to hide any sort of weapon and ammunition, despite whatever policy MSU could choose to enact. In the event of a similar attack, few if any students or staff would have the ability to defend themselves, is evidenced by the similar attack at Virginia Tech.
Legally licensed carriers of firearms in Michigan number more than 135,000, though fewer than 255 crimes (in 2005-06) were perpetrated by these people, representing less than 0.2% of the licensees. Those seeking to legally carry firearms must undergo a federal and state background check; they must be fingerprinted; they are certified to not be mentally incompetent or unsuitable to carry a firearm; and they must participate in training on the law, firearms safety, and firearms handling. Do you know half this information about any other students or visitors on campus?
In point of fact, those licensed to carry firearms in Michigan represent some of the most law-abiding citizens in the state. Most importantly, citizens who choose to legally carry a firearm seek nothing more than the ability to defend themselves when attacked, something they are pointedly denied the ability to do when on campus at MSU.
I strongly urge MSU to consider review of its policy prohibiting the possession and carrying of weapons on campus by staff, faculty, students and visitors. Criminals will attack when and where they choose. Neither telphone calls, cries for help nor prayer will quickly stop a criminal attack the moment it starts. However, if the University supported the legal carrying of firearms by authorized citizens on campus, then such attacks as Virginia Tech has experienced could, indeed, have a chance of being stopped quickly, by people legally authorized by the state of Michigan to carry a firearm for self-defense. Lives could be saved at MSU, in such situations. The safety of students, visitors and campus faculty and staff could all be improved, in this way.