Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bill To Legalize Guns On Texas College Campuses Moves Forward

Q. Who is the man holding the gun?

A. He is Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas.

Q. Does he often carry a gun?

A. Yes, often while jogging.

Q. Do Texans really like guns?

A. Many do.

Q. Is this a problem?

A. Yes.


Max Kingsbury said...

The linked story doesn't really describe why this is a problem. It shows a debate between CC enthusiasts and gun control enthusiasts over whether legal concealed carry makes places safer.

I don't have a real opinion, but I don't think there's convincing data either way. I very much doubt that gun control laws dissuade suicidal killers, though.

Neil Sinhababu said...

Well, what I was presenting as the problem was that legislation was about to pass legalizing guns on campus.

Let me say something about why this is a problem. Back when I started grad school, a disgruntled office staffer was overheard in a bar saying that he was going to bring his gun to campus the next day. Fortunately, he never showed up to work. But if he had, it would've made everybody a lot less nervous if we could've had campus security say, "sorry you can't come here if you have a gun."

Max Kingsbury said...

Again, if you're worried about gun violence at school, I don't see how rules against guns on campus help. Those disgruntled workers obviously don't care about the rules, because they are already willing to break the rules against murder.

Neil Sinhababu said...

So here's how the rules help: if you know that somebody has a gun and a grudge, you can tell him that he can't go meet his colleagues with the gun.

It's not a good assumption that all those disgruntled workers are already hell-bent on murder. Putting obstacles between suicidal people and death (I've heard) works pretty well in reducing suicide rates from bridge-jumping and such. It takes more commitment to solve a puzzle to execute your suicidal intention than it does to commit suicide in a moment.

People get angry and bring a gun. Some of them will have second thoughts by the time it comes to shooting. If some of them are about to walk into the building and a security guy says, "Sir, you can't come in here if you have a gun, people have heard you say that you were going to bring one today" some of them will go home instead of meeting the co-worker and who knows what happens next.

The tip of the iceberg is the hell-bent maniacs. But assuming a distribution of crazy that isn't wildly bimodal, there's going to be a lot of people who will be deterred if the security guard shows up and makes some friendly but firm remarks.