Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Oregon's Court of Appeals recently overturned a long-standing rule that banned firearms on university campuses. This ruling is yet another data point on the trend toward restoring the rights of licensed, of-age individuals to defend themselves while pursuing their education.

The original suit was filed by the Oregon Firearms Federation on behalf of Jeff Maxwell, a student and U.S. Marine, who was arrested for carrying a small derringer pistol on campus for personal protection. The charges were later dropped, but Maxwell was suspended from school for violating the ban on firearms.

The most recent verdict stated that the university policy was an attempt to regulate firearms not authorized by the legislative assembly and, therefore, is preempted by state law.

This decision follows efforts in more than a dozen states over the past year to repeal restrictions on campus carry, many of which had support in the legislature, but were defeated by technicalities and opposition in committees. Another bill in Arizona made it through the Legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer on the grounds that ambiguous language still left firearm owners at risk of persecution.

However, in a sweeping move, Wisconsin went from being one of only two remaining states with no provisions for carry to allowing concealed carry, including on university campuses.

In the general public, there is still much debate over the need to restore the right of self-defense on college campuses, but much of the opposition is based on fundamental misunderstandings of the goals of the campus carry movement and misinformation on the subject of gun rights in general. Providing education and explanations on the subject is one of the main tools used by student and community groups such as Students for Concealed Carry to garner additional support for their cause.

One of the most common concerns is that campus carry would cause every student on campus to suddenly be armed. However, the truth is that Florida law still requires individuals to be 21 years old and pass a series of background checks to obtain a concealed carry permit. About one percent of Florida's population currently holds a carry permit, which would result in about 500 lawfully armed citizens on campus. These same citizens currently carry in grocery stores, movie theaters and restaurants without incident, so campus would be no different.

Rulings like those in Oregon take essential steps toward the elimination of "defense-free zones" where university and state rules ensure that the only people who are armed are those who intend to break the law in the first place.

The fact that we trust and rely on students like Jeff Maxwell to defend our country and walk the streets of Fallujah with an M16 assault rifle and then deny them the right to defend themselves when they pursue higher education is both ironic and sad.

In a time and place where security and police are not able, nor required by law, to protect every individual student and faculty member, denying them the ability to defend themselves is reckless and irresponsible.

Zachary Zalneraitis

Vice President

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

Students for Concealed Carry at UF

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.