Opposing Concealed Carry in the Classroom

While I respect the Second Amendment's protections of the right to bear arms for the purposes of a "well-regulated militia," I strongly disagree with many red states' decision to allow guns in classrooms and mental hospitals, and said so in my May 2017 letter of resignation from the University of Kansas, which was published by the Topeka Capital-Journal and the Lawrence Journal World and led to an editorial in the Kansas City Star and hundreds of thousands of views on Facebook, Twitter, and websites such as The Washington Times and Breitbart.

I learned a lot from the vigorous debate that followed in the comments sections of those forums, both from supporters and opponents of concealed carry. Most commentators missed my larger point, which was not to debate the Second Amendment, but to predict that allowing guns in classrooms and hospitals would make it harder to keep and attract doctors and professors with job offers in states that take a different approach, since professors and doctors are almost universally opposed to such a measure.

I should not have been surprised to be willfully misunderstood-- it is so much easier to vilify each other and bloviate about knee-jerk click bait issues than to actually respond to nuanced arguments.

All the same, I strongly believe that we have to engage with those who do not share our views. Indeed, it necessary in order to learn.

About a dozen rightwing websites published stories about my resignation. I'm attaching the two with the widest readership, The Washington Times and Breitbart. It was interesting that The Times was particularly interested in my criticism of the hypocrisy of the original intent argument, which conservatives willfully ignore when it does not suit them, like when Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson and James Madison banned firearms from the campus of the University of Virginia. Breitbart's story was actually not bad, but when I defended myself well in the comments section they banned me from the site, illustrating once again that advocates of free speech too often only want to hear speech with which they agree. I learned from this experience that 2A ideologues are much more passionate on the issue than are its critics. I guess you can't yell "fire" in a crowded movie house, because we understand that 1A rights have limits, but an individual can still bring a semiautomatic with a bump stock anywhere he likes, because, well, that's what the Founders meant by a "well-regulated militia."