Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More dangerous than bullets???

I noticed something at the U of Akron today that made me stop and think. Is nicotine somehow more dangerous than bullets?

If you haven't noticed, there are "no smoking" signs on every single door to every single campus building. (FYI: the U of A website says there are 81 buildings in all .. just in case anyone ever asks you in a trivia contest.) A professor friend of mine tells me the placards went up as soon as Ohio began enforcing its no smoking law. OK, I got it. I understand that.

What I'm curious about is the absence of the "no guns" signs that we're so accustomed to seeing at just about every other public place we visit. I looked at the doors of six or seven campus buildings and couldn't find even one "no guns" sign. I find it hard to fathom that a public university wouldn't take advantage of a way -- even a passive one like signs -- of limiting firearms on campus, especially in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre.

Maybe it's written in the student codes somewhere. Maybe incoming freshman take an oath not to lie, cheat, or scare their instructors to death with a firearm. Maybe students like the option of arming themselves so they can be their own last line of defense if need be.

I called campus police tonight and asked about the legality of carrying weapons on campus with a license under the concealed carry laws (again, there's not one "no gun" sign on campus). The officer on the other end went to ask his supervisor and then told me "my supervisor says generally that's not the case." I asked what he meant by "generally" and he told me that "generally" people don't carry concealed firearms on campus.

Well, how the heck do they only generally know? Does anyone pat down folks as they enter and leave campus? Is there a random metal detector we haven't seen?

The list of those with gun licenses issued in Summit County is no longer a public record, so there's no way to check it against student lists. Besides that would be too much like Big Brother, so I'm not really in favor of that anyway.

Still, it just strikes me as odd that there are nine thousand placards giving me the toll free number to report a student toting a Winston but not one for those toting a Smith & Wesson.

20 comments:

markmcc said...

I am a Concealed Carry LICENCE holder. As licensed by the State of Ohio, I have passed State background checks, have taken mandatory 12 hr courses, and can not have ANY crimminal background or offenses. All CCL holders are law abiding, good citizens.How much do you know about about your co-workers?
We are well schooled in the law as REQUIRED by the Atty. General office. The entire CCL laws can be found at their web site.
As a CCL holder, I know it's against the law to carry a weapon on a school grounds. We don't need a sign for that. Does anyone really believe a sign is going to keep someone with criminal intentions out of any building?
I am also a member of Ohioans for Concealed Carry.( I can hear those groans in the background and no, I am in no way a spokesman for them) Please feel free to check out their website at www.ohioccw.org . You can educate yourself on the carry laws.
Those of us with legally issued Concealed Carry LICENSES are law abiding members of your community.
Feel free to contact Atty. General Marc Dann's office or the www.ohioccw.org website. Anyone there would be more than happy to help answer any question and dispel any misconceptions that you may have.
Also,sad to say, I am a smoker and I do not smoke anywhere it's posted.But those non-smoking signs have never effected my rountine as I don't smoke in those places anyway.
As far as information being public records, why doesn't the newspapers go to court so that they can publish the names and addresses of those with driver licenses? I'm sure we'd all like to see our names in the paper for that. The newspapers that abuse the loophole allowing the publishing of CCL holder names are actually putting those holders in danger. It like saying to the criminal- look- here's a free list of all the gun owners. Go rob their house when they aren't home.Newspapers have a responsibilty to use good judgement when reporting certain things. I'm sure the news station kills certain stories every day.

Love your blogs. I read you everyday. As a reporter- rule number 1: Check out the facts before reporting.

Anonymous said...

Only an mental midget equates signs prohibiting firearms with safety.

That approached worked really well at Virginia Tech, huh?

Eric Mansfield said...

Hi Markmmc

Thanks for leaving a comment and for reading my blog. I try to post twice a day and hope my thoughts deliver something folks find worth reading.

As I'm sure you noticed, I used the world "license" throughout my post, unlike other journalists who say "permit." As a 20-year military officer and Iraq war veteran, I'm quite educated on firearms and Ohio's CC rules and regulations.

My point wasn't that I agreed or disagreed with whether the U of A or any place else out there decided to allow or prohibit license holders from carrying their weapons.

Instead, I was hoping to illustrate how suprised I was that the U of A doesn't post the "No Guns" signs simply as a response to the VA Tech shootings. When you compare that to Zipville's large collection of no smoking signs, it just begs the question "do campus leaders think nicotine more deadly that bullets?" I also found it odd that U of A police really weren't sure how to answer my question.

Hopefully you can see the comparison here .. and, of course, see where I'm being sarcastic in my posts. If I'm doing my job right, my blog will at least get folks talking.

And yeah .. always check the facts .. I know I did.

Stay in touch .. Eric

Anonymous said...

Eric,

Its this simple. The U of A, like every other business in Ohio, is required to post "no smoking" signs. If they do not, they will be fined up to $2500 per violation. They are not required to post "no guns" signs, and anyone who has a license already knows they can't carry on campus, but are allowed to leave their guns locked in their cars. Anyone with criminal intent will ignore the signs and carry anyway. There is no reason for the U of A to waste money posting signs they are not required to post and that will have zero effect on anyone's behavior.

Have you ever seen a "no robberies" sign at a bank? Does that mean the bank's owner thinks robbery is less dangerous than smoking? of course not.

As noted above, the killer in Virginia walked right past "no guns" signs on his way to murder 32 people. No life has ever been saved by "gun free" zones and many have been lost because of them.

Lance said...

Eric Mansfield wrote:
"I find it hard to fathom that a public university wouldn't take advantage of a way -- even a passive one like signs -- of limiting firearms on campus, especially in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre."

What exactly is the mechanism that these signs would utilize to stop the VT shooter?

Wouldn't this be as ineffective as posting 'no murder' signs on the VT campus?

Suzanna Gratia Hupp knows firsthand how these signs only serve to get people killed.

-Lance

Anonymous said...

The only reason to post a "no guns" sign on school grounds, would be to remind those who are licensed to carry a handgun that they are entering an area where the law states they may not carry.
Certainly, someone who is illegally carrying, and is already in violation of the law, is not likely to pay any attention to a sign.

Anonymous said...

OK, you say that you're well acquainted with the CC laws: so you're wondering why there wasn't some knee-jerk reaction from the U of A to the tragedy at VT?
I for one am happy to hear that there was no such reaction. Maybe more people are beginning to understand that the signs are more for show than protection.
How about a comment in your blog about the Sandusky Register posting the names, counties, and ages of the licensed concealed carry holders who live in the surrounding counties. When the Roanoke Times did it, they even included the addresses of the license holders. At least they posted it until it was pointed out that parole officers, undercover policemen, and battered women were included. A paroled convict even showed up at the home of his parole officer, to see if he really lived there.

OntWarrior said...

Maybe if a law abbiding CCL Holder was carry a gun on the Virginia Tech campus the outcome may have been different. I sincerely hope someday these people that write such idiotic articles realize that if a criminal wants to commit a crime he or she will not care about a silly sign (or even 80 signs). I for one feel much safer knowing that good people carry handguns and would protect me if the situation arose!

Tony said...

Personally, I equate the "No Handguns " signs as an open invitation to people of ill intent. "Hey Mr. Criminal type, here's a building just full of people who don't have a gun. Come on in and don't worry about the possibility of anyone in here fighting back"
(Talking about the places that put up these signs like pizza shops, etc. Not libraries or banks)

tmk said...

Eric, I got your point. Even if none of the other posters did. I find it a little disturbing that the CCL people did not. I was going to post more, but I then realized that questioning folks who tote guns may not be the best thing to do.

Tim

Chris said...

All college campuses in Ohio are codified no carry zones. So anybody that has taken the CHL class knows this. So the no guns signs would only apply to people carrying illegally anyway. And we know how much they respect the law or a "No Guns" sign for that matter.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

I understand your what you're trying to say. You're trying compare and contrast smoking (which can kill) to bullet (which can kill also). I guess you'd be better off comparing smoking to gang violence. Gangs don't check the internet for bloggs.

From what I've read so far, Pro-gun advocates don't like the comparison.

BTW, I am a CHL holder and was an Infantry Marine.

David B. said...

I was taught that even a person with a concealed carry license is forbidden to carry on an Ohio campus, and that is something every license holder should know. There is really no need to post, except perhaps as a reminder to CCL holders who may be ignorant (or as a sign for a criminal that those inside are pretty much guaranteed to be defenseless). Class D establishments (which sell liquor for consumption on the property) do not usually post "no guns" signs either, even though concealed carry holders cannot carry there. While it wouldn't hurt to post "no guns" signs on campus, it isn't going to stop someone who intends to break the law anyway.

Until the VA Tech tragedy, I used to naively think "gun free zones" somehow stopped criminals, but not so much anymore. If anything, a smart criminal would seek out gun free zones to use his firearm illegally (as many have done, like Cho).

Swanny said...

Interestingly, in the VT case, it was a campus policy and not a state law which restricted carrying handguns on campus. This is a very important distinction, because in states like Utah, students are allowed to carry on campus, and the educational institution cannot impede that right. In fact, this law was contested by several universities, but was ultimately upheld by the Utah Supreme Court.

tmk said...

Something everyone seems to have missed, is that it's also already not permitted to smoke in any public building. This has been the case for a long time (before the new ban.) This isn't news, and everybody knows this. Yet, no-smoking signs still must be posted. In some ways, it really does seem that shooting folks is less of an offense than blowing second-hand smoke!

Chris said...

"I find it hard to fathom that a public university wouldn't take advantage of a way -- even a passive one like signs -- of limiting firearms on campus, especially in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre."

This is the line that has everyone hacked off. You have tried to replace your combat boots with tap shoes to try to say you "weren't" making a judgment on the no-guns signs...just making a comment on the disparity. Nice try...didn't work.

C'Mon Eric. You are smarter than that. The only people who pay attention to those signs are those of us who are law-abiding in the first place. Signs don't keep guns out of the hands of bad guys and signs don't keep bad guys out of campus.

Perhaps when you were deployed, as Company Commander you could have instructed your First Sergeant to distribute "no guns" signs in your area of operations. I am sure that would have been effective.

Eric Mansfield said...

Chris,

Let me put it another way. With Ohio colleges ready to maul each other to get every student they possibly can enrolled for big bucks tuition, I "find it hard to fathom" that U of A leaders aren't doing everything they can think of -- including putting up silly "No Guns" signs that aren't required of effective anyway -- as a way of going completely overboard to make their campus appear/look/feel safer than it has ever been in wake of the Va. Tech shootings. It just seems like the natural knee-jerk reaction that I expected to see on campus but didn't.

As for walking in my combat boots in Iraq, unless you were there Chris and putting your life on the line, you really should stay on a topic you're more suited to discuss.

pwhited said...

I am a Conceal Carry License holder. I have been trained in the safe handling, proper storage and use of my firearm, passed a background check that proves I have never been convicted of a felony, have never been convicted of any drug offense, never been convicted of spousal abuse, and never been found to be mentally defective. You now know more about me than you know about most of your coworkers.

I understand that you might think that U of Akron would lean towards posting "No Gun" signs after the V. Tech murders, but if you look at it a little deeper I think you'll see that those signs at V. Tech did NOTHING but tell the murderer Cho that he would NOT be endangered by another student who was armed. He likely had a little laugh as he opened the doors bearing those signs, and went on his murderous way. Be realistic. If you were intent on killing someone and there was a no gun sign on the door, would that make you put your gun away and get out a knife?

I believe that by NOT having a "no gun" sign, anyone with evil intent will be less apt to carry out a crime, simply because there MIGHT be someone armed inside to interfere with the criminal.

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to wonder about the intelligence and even sanity of your readers Eric, I thought this was an interesting blog, and knowing you, I get your point.