Disarmament Of The Lawful On College Campuses Must Be Changed By Texas Legislators
Gun rights have been under attack in the United States quite heavily over the past few years, and students and employees at institutions of higher education are still not allowed the opportunity to protect themselves adequately.
The rights of responsible gun owners have been abridged by the left for some time now, and the most worrying part is that even though some of the critical court rulings have been in favor of the second amendment, the reality is that the votes on many of these issues have been 5-4 decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States, just one vote away from reducing or completely removing our Second Amendment rights.
Take 2010’s McDonald v. Chicago case, in which the court tied up some legal questions left unanswered by 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller, which supposedly protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm in their home within federal enclaves such as Washington D.C., but failed to address the rights of citizens within a state.
McDonald dealt with Chicago’s then-28-year-old handgun ban, which was filed after Chicago resident Otis McDonald’s application for a handgun was declined. CNN quoted McDonald as saying “Give me the opportunity to at least make somebody think about something before they come in my house on me.”
The Supreme Court of the United States held very similarly as they did in the Heller case, and said in a plurality decision that a broad handgun ban did indeed infringe upon citizens’ Second Amendment rights, as incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. SCOTUS Associate Justice Clarence Thomas agreed that the Second Amendment rights were incorporated by the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and personally, I’m inclined to agree with the interpretation offered by Justice Thomas.
While the case was ultimately decided correctly, the 5-4 decision was still far too close for comfort. It’s ridiculous that four SCOTUS Justices actually voted to deny the most basic of rights given by our United States Constitution. The majority opinion, authored by Justice Alito, still allows for some “reasonable” restrictions by the states because after all, it wouldn’t be a proper court case if they didn’t put more power into a legislator’s pen or under a judge’s gavel.
The most disturbing opinions were those of the four on the liberal bloc of the court, who chose to deny the Second Amendment entirely. Justice John Paul Stevens, now retired, said that the right to own a personal firearm was not a “liberty” interest, and Justice Breyer said that the Second Amendment did not guarantee a fundamental right to own a personal firearm. His dissent was joined by Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor.
We need to jump at every opportunity to expand gun rights where we can, because the statist battle against personal firearms is ever-growing. Even here in Texas, our gun laws are too restrictive, particularly with the open carry ban and the concealed carry ban on college campuses.
New bills have been filed with the Texas Senate and House of Representatives which would allow for concealed handgun licensees to carry weapons on their college campuses, a move which is currently restricted. In the 2009 legislative session, a college carry bill was passed in the state senate, but never reached the floor of the house due to a democrat filibuster of a voter identification bill. District 28 State Senator Robert Duncan, a Lubbock Republican, chose to vote against the measure.
Restrictions such as these keep firearms out of the hands of trained, responsible gun owners, and results in the dangers from those that may carry weapons for reasons other than personal safety. After all, there is no constitutional onus upon the state to keep someone from being wounded or murdered, as illustrated in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ 1982 Bowers v. Devito decision, and governments have no obligation under the law to provide police protection under 1981’s Warren v. District of Columbia, as decided by the D.C. Court of Appeals.
Disallowing licensed students and staff of universities to carry firearms for personal protection makes everyone on a university campus a defenseless target for someone who is bent on killing, as we saw at the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. It requires that in order for someone to pursue higher education, they must render themselves indefensible, and for the Texas legislature to allow this disarmament only keeps weapons out of the hands of the lawful, making them a potential victim.