Constitutional Law, Crime, Guns / Firearms, Law Schools, Violence

Idaho Law Student Wants Right to Carry Guns on Campus

Do we really need to make it easier for people to have weapons on school campuses? Really? We’re not worried about school shootings anymore? Is the Second Amendment really so broad that it requires us to allow students to weaponize their law school dorm rooms? Is there no “safe zone” in America where I can go and be reasonably assured of not being hit with an unintended, stray, accidental bullet fired from a hand cannon a man was legally allowed to possess just because George Washington needed some well-armed farmers to defeat the British?

According Idaho Law 2L Aaron Tribble, his right to have a firearm in his dorm room trumps his classmates’ rights to not have to live on campus with potentially crazy gunmen in legal possession of weapons. Tribble has filed suit against the University of Idaho over its policy that bans guns on campus.

He claims that the rule violates his Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights to possess a gun in his on-campus home…

The story from the Moscow-Pullman Daily News Online (gavel bang: ABA Journal) is pretty bare-bones. But the publication says Tribble, 36, is married and lives in student housing for married students and students with children. So I’m sure that at some point Tribble will make an argument about how he needs his gun to protect his family (if he hasn’t already).

Me? I’m not only concerned with the safety of Tribble’s family, I’m also concerned about the safety of all the other families in Tribble’s university housing. There are little kids there. The last thing anybody wants to see is Tribble firing off two “warning shots” at somebody coming to steal his silly material possessions and those stray bullets winding up in the chest of one of his classmates’ children. Tribble might not care about that possibility, but it’s something the University of Idaho has to be allowed to consider.

Which says nothing, of course, about the worst-case scenario: an Idaho student going postal and shooting up the campus. You tell me, what’s easier to enforce: a strict policy where anybody on campus who has a gun can be detained and have the gun taken away, or a case-by-case approach allowing some people to have guns while others cannot, where you can’t really tell who is a good guy or a bad guy until the bullets start flying? On a no-gun campus, the gun itself is a rule violation, and you don’t have to wait for people to get shot at before you start confiscating weapons.

Oh, but I’m sure Tribble (or some other gun nut) has already locked and loaded the ridiculous argument that by possessing a gun, Tribble will somehow be able to stop gun violence committed by others. Sure, Idaho doubtlessly has trained security professionals for just such an occurrence, but whatever, Tribble still wants to be able to help.

And he can. In the horrible situation where a deranged lunatic sneaks a gun on campus and starts shooting at people, Tribble is free to run into harm’s way to help victims. Daniel Hernandez did it. Go be a hero should the situation present itself.

Of course, Tribble doesn’t want to be Daniel Hernandez, he wants to be Clint Eastwood. And that’s probably why the otherwise reasonable restriction on his gun rights bothers Tribble. In the movies, the heroes don’t have to check in with anybody before wasting people (ironically, wasting people without giving them due process of the law, as required under the Fourteenth Amendment). So Tribble objects to the following restriction:

Students are allowed to store and check out their firearms at the Moscow Police Department’s on-campus substation, but Tribble said the university is violating his rights by not allowing him to store his guns at his residence.

Do you see what we’re talking about here, people? Tribble is allowed to own a gun. He’s just not allowed to bring it on-campus, to his university-subsidized housing, where he lives among families and children. He’s saying the Second prohibits Idaho from keeping Tribble’s gun a safe distance from other students and their families.

Is the Second Amendment really protecting us from criminals and/or unjust governments, or is it just preventing us from being safe?

Law student sues University of Idaho over gun rights [Moscow-Pullman Daily News Online]
Idaho Law Student Sues over Campus Gun Restrictions [ABA Journal]

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