Guns, campuses, and madness

“I absolutely understand the Second Amendment,” he added. “I have spent my life fighting for the Second Amendment. You know, you have to ask yourself why did the founding fathers put freedom of speech as the First Amendment? They may have done that because freedom of speech is incredibly important, and if you have guns on campus, I question whether or not that will somehow inhibit our freedom of speech.”

Pressed to elaborate, McRaven continued: “If you’re in a heated debate with somebody in the middle of a classroom and you don’t know whether or not that individual is carrying, how does that inhibit the interaction between students and faculty?”

That concern was raised time and again by faculty members and students with whom I spoke over recent days. Joan Neuberger, a history professor and one of the founders of a new advocacy group called Gun Free UT, told me: “If I know that there’s a possibility that someone will have gun in his pocket, I can’t in good conscience get students to debate the way they do now.”

It can be argued that campus carry isn’t that extreme a change. It permits guns only for people with concealed-handgun permits, for which civilians must be 21 or older and have completed some training. Few undergraduates meet those criteria.