The ominous 50th anniversary of the University of Texas mass shooting from atop a 300-foot tower should signal lawmakers in states like Kansas to abort plans to allow firearms on university and college campuses.
In July 2017 people in Kansas will be able to carry firearms onto community college, college and university campuses, despite widespread opposition from faculty and staff. The pro-gun logic is that having more people armed will prevent mass shootings from occurring or minimize injuries and loss of life.
But more guns will only result in more accidents and more problems. The nation on Monday solemnly remembered Aug. 1, 1966, as the day former Marine Charles Whitman took guns and ammunition to the top of the tower at the University of Texas, and then began shooting.
He killed 14 people and wounded dozens of others before Austin police fatally shot him. Whitman had killed his wife and mother the night before.
A memorial ceremony took place on the Austin campus, where a pink granite marker was unveiled with the names of the persons who were killed.
But Monday also was when Texas’ campus-carry law went into effect, enabling people to carry concealed handguns on the campuses of dozens of public community colleges, colleges and universities. That affects tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff.
The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus, founded in 2008 to urge colleges and universities to collectively oppose the gun lobby, said in a statement that people should honor those killed and wounded and think “about ways in which we can reduce gun violence in our nation and preserve safety on America’s campuses.”
Everyone should be concerned that states continue to liberalize gun laws, enabling more people to carry firearms.
In Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a wide-ranging gun bill that the Republican-dominated legislature passed this year. It would have eliminated the requirement to get a permit to legally be in public with a concealed firearm.
Under the bill, the penalty for carrying a gun into a building where it’s not permitted would be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. The bill also would have established a “stand your ground” law — the first in the country since 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot to death in February 2012 in Florida by George Zimmerman.
Under the bill, people no longer would be required to try to retreat before using lethal force if they think their life is in danger. The bill would have expanded the castle doctrine to permit guests in a residence to use deadly force on intruders.
For people still wanting concealed-carry permits, the bill would have create a lifetime version that never expires.
Efforts have been underway in the legislature for more than a month to muster enough votes to override Nixon’s veto. For safety’s sake, let’s hope that doesn’t happen.