Professor James Gregory has a devastating response to Paul Pancella's recent letter to the editor criticizing guns on campus.
He provides a valuable reminder of the history of the debate over concealed weapons. Anti-gun forces made the same arguments in 2000, when Michigan's concealed carry law was passed. None of their predictions came true; in fact, crime declined.
The whole idea of science is to develop a hypothesis, test it, and reject it if the data contradict its predictions. But anti-gun forces never seem to learn from experience. Dr. Pancella should apply his knowledge of the principles of science to this issue.
Gun-free policies don't prevent violence
In response to Derek Getman's criticism of Western Michigan University's gun-free campus policy, professor Paul Pancella maintained that allowing legally armed students and faculty members to carry concealed firearms on campus would more or less ensure an increase in gun violence here at WMU.
By Dr. Pancella's logic, an increase in the number of cars on the road would, by default, more or less guarantee an increase in the number of drunk driving offenses on record. Simply because individuals are given a right does not mean that they will all abuse it. Dr. Pancella has essentially expressed the same unrealistic concern that opponents of Michigan's concealed carry law voiced prior to its passage in 2001, only on a smaller scale. Those who stood against making Michigan a "shall-issue" carrying concealed weapon state maintained that an increase in the number of lawfully trained, registered and concerned citizens carrying firearms could only result in a dramatic increase in violent shootings throughout the state.
No such condition of general chaos and disorder has descended upon our pleasant peninsula. In addition to basic education and awareness on the subject of school shootings, the only way to prevent an incident like that which recently occurred at Virginia Tech is, frankly, to make the school less attractive as a target. Either increase the number of armed police officers on campus who are trained to deal with and quickly react to shooter scenarios or allow lawfully armed individuals to carry on university grounds.
The fact is that those who intend to do harm against others, people like Seung-Hui Cho, will disregard as many laws and policies as can be put in front of them. Criminals, by definition, break laws and regulations that others follow. Having decided to commit murder, especially on a large scale, makes it quite easy to ignore rules against possessing guns on a campus - or anywhere else for that matter. In the face of a deranged individual who cares little for following such rules, the average law abiding and policy conscious students or faculty members would find themselves at a serious, and perhaps deadly, disadvantage.
WMU foreign languages department