State Senator Ron Gould is one persistent man.
Last year, the governor — in a brief bout of common sense — vetoed the guns on campus bill Gould maneuvered through the legislature.
But that didn’t stop Gould. In the session soon to begin, he’s bringing in a new version — a cleaned up one that he believes will pass the governor’s muster.
In it, students and others will be allowed to carry guns on campus and even into buildings, unless the buildings are equipped with gun lockers. Of course, Gould’s legislation requires the junior colleges and universities to pay for the lockers, which cost upward of $300 each. With 1,800 buildings on our college campuses, that’s a chunk of change the schools don’t have anyhow (in part thanks to Gould, who’s voted with the Republican majority to cut college funding by hundreds of millions of dollars over the past three years).
Gould, of course, believes that more guns will makes us safer. And those of us who oppose him understand the idea. We’ve seen the carnage of the Virginia Tech shooter.
Gould and others believe that an armed campus could’ve prevented the massacre. And that’s possible. A student or prof with a gun might’ve gotten the shooter before he did too much damage.
But really, Gould’s legislation just creates an illusion — the illusion that having armed students and staff will stop a shooter.
We know that guns will not stop the deranged.
Gould knows that no one bent on shooting up a place is sane enough to think twice before following through on some crazy plot. So the deterrent factor some might argue is irrelevant.
The other argument — that someone armed will shoot the shooter — presupposes that people will react in a calm, rational manner when someone on a college campus brandishes a gun and starts firing.
If we’re very lucky, there might be some brave soul who’s armed and a good marksmen and has had training in dealing with a situation like that (though Arizona requires little training and no expertise to carry a weapon, let alone to carry a concealed weapon).
And maybe that person gets off a round without hitting others around him and stops the shooter.
Or maybe he panics and fires indiscriminately, adding to the carnage.
Or maybe he does what most of us would do — dive for cover rather than confront the shooter.
Or maybe the police show up and there are several folks firing away — who’s the shooter?
Ironically, even as Gould and others want more guns in our midst, the state has made the regulations and training regarding gun possession even more lenient.
No, I’m afraid Senator Gould’s legislation — as well-meaning as it is — is a wrong-headed way to deal with the frightening problem of a crazed shooter on a college campus that fortunately is still rare in our society.
Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.