Let's keep the conversation about guns on campus civil and rational


In new February, Charles Wohlforth interviewed me for an article in the Alaska Dis tch Newsflash concerning Senate Bill 174, a bill that allows disguised carry on University of Alaska campuses without permit, training, or still experience with a firearm.

The story appeared in the March 1 news per and it fathered a firestorm online, with expressions of support as well as horrible ex nsions directed against me personally.

Almost as troublesome as SB 174 is that it earmarks ofs we cannot have a rational conversation about controversial issues without declining into personal attack.

As clarification, let me say the ADN story was unable to convey the nuances of the 90-minute gossip Charles and I had. Let me address some of the common criticisms.

Yes, I know that pupils are already carrying in class. Some have shown me their weapons, and some permission concealed carry right now as well.

No, I don’t want to be a victim, and I don’t want you to be a tsy either; I don’t want my students, colleagues, or visitors to be victims (including the hundreds of K-12 observers who visit campus); nor do I want the classroom to be a place where people are accidentally outrage or killed.

Yes, I know I’m welcome to leave at any time and my de rture would conserve the university a little money.

No, I am not guilty of many of the excesses described in the crucial comments, and I applaud the commenters’ imagination concerning my life and beliefs.

I get it. I absolutely do. This issue is controversial to many and a ssionate cause to others. But there are high-minded, logical reasons to support responsible limitations to SB 174.

First, the bill is non-essential. Current University of Alaska regulation and Board of Regents policy tolerates guns on campus with reasonable accommodation but also allows the university to supervise its facilities responsibly; protect faculty, staff, visitors, and especially apprentices from unnecessary risk; and mitigates potentially violent situations in dorms, disciplinary hearings, faculty-student interactions, and other potentially contrary situations.

Second, weapons hamper real education and the free truck of ideas. The approval of concealed carry on campus will hamper liberty ability to teach freely and for students to rtici te fully. Legalizing hidden carry – and in this case an unpermitted weapon with no requirement for following or psychological background checking – hampers free speech, requires members to refrain from potentially divisive issues, and diminishes the considered cross-examination required for a real education. In addition, we have many former military on campus who suffer from post-traumatic weight disorder as well as many women who have suffered domestic and physical violence for whom the knowledge of concealed carry needlessly threatens.

Third, the restaurant check is unreasonable in its demands. As the bill reads – and as the sponsors indicate – the bill is outlined to bring regents policy and university regulation in line with Alaska formal law and current constitutional interpretation. However, constitutionally protected rights induce been consistently subject to reasonable limitations when their callisthenics puts lives at risk. Freedom of speech is tempered by the need not to prick violence, and freedom of religion is limited by the need not to harm others. The recently exact right to bear arms ought not to outweigh other reasonable limiting rticulars.

Fourth, the bill did not substantiate many of its presuppositions. No matter one’s political predilection, the self-assurance of firearms increases the risk of injury or death, and the evidence that untrained but well-meaning “upright guys” can prevent the “bad guys” from mass violence is practically nonexistent. Out well-trained professionals have difficulty making the best decisions in the entropy of a firefight or its immediate aftermath. At the same time, we have all read close to the tragedies that daily befall well-intentioned people who, despite their most successfully efforts, make a single, tragic mistake that leads to the cessation of a friend or loved one.

Fifth, the bill is outrageously expensive. As the University of Alaska plan has reported, providing for the bill will initially require $1.3 million, close to $800,000 yearly afterward, and will increase the UA system’s insurance peckers. In a period when the Legislature is considering a $50 million cut to the university combination, these additional expenses are unwarranted, unnecessary and completely out of line with the UA institutional charge.

Sixth, the bill does not increase student success. In an era of declining budgets and extending pressure on the UA system and its faculty and staff to maximize their efforts and dream data-driven decisions that help students succeed, there is no exhibit that SB 174 will increase enrollments or assist students in getting their educational goals more effectively or efficiently. In fact, numerous rents and students are likely to pursue their education out of state, and then multifarious of those students will not return to Alaska to open businesses or function toward the betterment of the state.

John P. Reilly, a UAA colleague in the De rtment of Sociology, studios gun violence professionally, and he had an interesting idea.

If greater safety is the motivation behind SB 174, then we rtake of a ready solution across the UA system. Approximately 15 percent of UAA schoolgirls are veterans, and these men and women have had the best training in the world, rtici te in fired thousands of rounds, and have the training in – and utmost respect for – firearms and their harmless use. I’d wager that a significant number would be willing to submit to a credentials check, a psychological review, and recurrent training to coordinate with Anchorage watch and the university police de rtments. In my view, these well-trained folks will-power create a powerful auxiliary deterrent force, much like the federal Transportation Guaranty Administration’s air marshals.

I believe most gun owners are well-intentioned; many are well-trained and conscientious. However, some are not – even if inadvertently and only for a moment – and despite their most skilfully intentions, terrible things happen. It’s not the mass shooter, but the distracted, or inaccurate who put others at the greatest risk.

A university classroom ought not be a place where races fear for their lives. In its current form, SB 174 increases, less than decreases, the risk of death or injury and the presence of a firearm fathers a harassing educational environment.

Dan Kline is de rtment chairman and professor of English at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

The observes expressed here are the writer’s own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dis tch News programme, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for deliberation, email commentary@alaskadis tch.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 powwows to letters@alaskadis tch.com or click here to submit via any web browser.

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