Thursday, February 12, 2015

Confusing the Issue for An Agenda's Sake

In a recent editorial, the Sagebrush urges its readers not to support AB 2, a bill that would keep law-abiding gun-owning Nevadans from accidentally turning into criminals simply by permitting them to have a firearm in their vehicle only on school campuses. The editorial alleges that the bill will “only deepen the dangers associated with gun violence.” How will it do so? Does the mere presence of an object induce others to act?

The bill requires that the firearms be kept in the vehicle and locked away when unattended.

The sole intent of this bill is to keep people who arm themselves while driving from unintentionally committing a crime when they take their children to school or attend their own classes. That’s it. Under current law, if a driver with a gun in his center console were to turn into a school parking lot to turn around, rather than make an illegal U-turn, the very act of driving on to school property with a gun in the console would be a misdemeanor. Does that sound like a fair law to have?

The Sagebrush doesn’t even have to enter the debate on whether the right armed self-defense extends itself to schools. Nonetheless, it did anyway and totally mixed up the intent of AB 2 with campus carry.

Furthermore, “adding CCWs to the mix” would not “serve to create a climate of vigilantism.” The legal carry of firearms off-campus, open or concealed, in Nevada has not lead to a spate of vigilante violence. Vigilantism originally began as a duty of every person to act as the unofficial watchmen of their community, which continues today as a citizen’s arrest. In Sparks in 2013, Michael Landsberry, a teacher and Air National Guardsman, gave his life attempting to stop a school shooting. Is trying to save the lives of children or oneself ‘vigilantism’?

In the Sagebrush’s opinion, they would rather see students and teachers die helplessly, less a police officer accidentally mistook the good guy for the bad. This argument is absolutely ignorant. Do police off-campus in shooting situations routinely confuse the good and bad guys to the point where they shoot innocent people? The author of the editorial is apparently unaware of extensive police training for just this sort of incident. There is no reason, no excuse, to deny an individual the right to defend themselves by ‘putting it in the hands of professionals.’

Do we turn over fire safety to fire fighters, tear down our smoke alarms and give away our fire extinguishers? If professionals should be the only ones in the life saving business, the Red Cross needs to stop CPS training, Automatic Electronic Defibrillators need pulled from the walls, and first aid kits turned in.

The Sagebrush is trying to confuse the issue at hand. They are mixing one thing (concealed carry on campus) with AB 2, which is nothing of the sort.

The assertion that “There is no unique benefit to allowing [firearms] in locked cars” is a blatantly false one. It’s entire intention is to keep mothers, fathers, and students who want to be able to defend themselves against violence from accidentally committing a misdemeanor simply because they turned into a school parking lot with a firearm in their car.

Nothing about having a firearm in a school parking lot makes it more dangerous than it is anywhere else. A firearm is an inanimate object—alone it can do no harm.

The Sagebrush does make a salient point: a firearm in a locked car “will not be able to protect you in case of an emergency” (presumably that emergency is a school shooting). Getting guns out of the car and into the holsters of responsible concealed-carriers does increase school safety.

Since we’re on the topic of firearms on campus, let’s look at the Virginia Tech shooting of 2007, where 32 were killed and 17 injured. Shouldn't one of those 49 victims had the opportunity to defend themselves, instead of run, hide, and pray that they wouldn't be shot? What changes life and death on university grounds? Do firearms in off-campus life also make students feel uncomfortable?

If you don’t like firearms or think they should be at schools, fine. Yet publishers should not deliberately confuse facts and make false assertions to further their own institutional dislike of firearms. The Sagebrush’s total disregard for the facts of AB 2 is reckless and irresponsible and they have additionally demonstrated a callous disregard for human life, by suggesting that students, teachers, and parents should be defenseless.

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