Montana legislators should try teaching a class or two before allowing guns on campus

2013-02-28T10:55:00Z Montana legislators should try teaching a class or two before allowing guns on campusONLINE-ONLY letter to the editor
February 28, 2013 10:55 am  • 

I am amazed at House Bill 240, endorsed as “freedom to student speech and constitutional rights” by allowing guns on college campus.

As a college teacher I am not hired to teach in a classroom with students “packing” – it seems contrary to my motivations to empower students for their career futures. I do not get hazard pay for teaching in a classroom, nor would I seek to be employed there, even if I was offered such pay.

Students who are not “packing” would be subject to the same dangerous environment as the teacher, and their rights to safety would be severely infringed by the constitutional rights of those “carrying.” I don’t see why one group’s rights have priority over another group so easily.

It is rare, but not impossible, to have a student in class with mental or other instability problems – this would be a hazard to all of us in a classroom never meant to be a war zone. The University of Montana has had issues with violence and rape lately, and throwing firearms into the mix seems like insanity and instability.

The Republican sponsors of this bill have never been teachers. I recommend that they teach a class or more to a group of armed students, to see how focused and effective they can teach, if they have never had to be in that experience before. I also notice that an amendment to the passed bill was to arm public offices, police stations, and legislative sessions, and that this was voted down. Good choice; then why do we teachers have to be subjected to this exposure, since you see the lunacy of having your workplace tainted with this?

We have smoke-free campuses. Please don’t replace tobacco with firearms!

Michael O’Lear,


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(14) Comments

  1. Run - A- Mook
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    Run - A- Mook - March 02, 2013 11:45 am
    Reply to Bones below

    Pray tell What reason?
  2. Dcmissoula
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    Dcmissoula - March 02, 2013 11:23 am
    Michael O'Lear, i have taken a few of your classes, and can say you proudly admonish kids who desent your political views. Infact you enjoy more freedom of speech than i do on campus. If i want to speak freely i have to use a designated free speech zone. Your are the problem.
  3. Bones
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    Bones - March 01, 2013 8:36 pm
    Yep. There's a reason they don't do that anymore.
  4. Got concrete
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    Got concrete - March 01, 2013 5:12 am
    "I don’t see why one group’s rights have priority over another group so easily". Think about what you just said.
  5. Run - A- Mook
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    Run - A- Mook - February 28, 2013 11:50 pm
    BR -+- What is a gun-packed zone?
  6. Run - A- Mook
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    Run - A- Mook - February 28, 2013 10:31 pm
    What is a gun-packing zone?
  7. BR
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    BR - February 28, 2013 10:18 pm
    Nobody is safe in a gun-packed zone, in stiletto alley, or in a poison-soaked zone.
  8. Run - A- Mook
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    Run - A- Mook - February 28, 2013 9:51 pm
    Bones -- I could not let this pass.
    I'll tell you that back in the 1950's,
    in the U.S.M.C., we were not issued
    guns in basic training.A Gun is a weapon
    such as a 155MM gun.
    We were issued rifles.
    For the rest of my enlistment, whenever
    we weren't using them for the job at hand,
    they were locked in our personal wall-lockers.
    We were young then 17 - 18 - 19 but we were
    young MEN. Same goes for our personal weapons.
    Oh one more then, We kept our live ammo in
    the wall lockers also.

  9. sverige
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    sverige - February 28, 2013 7:13 pm
    BR: You keep using that word . . . "right" . . . I do not think it means what you think it means. The only person who is "safe" in a gun-free zone is the criminal!
  10. MrEngineer
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    MrEngineer - February 28, 2013 6:29 pm
    This is not a Right or Left issue. This is an issue where you should think carefully and do your research.

    Professor O'Lear, there may be students who carry in your classroom already! Unless you have had them searched, you would never know. I know that there are a number of men and women at MSU who carry concealed weapons for their own safety every day.

    Please think slowly and carefully about this issue: allowing concealed carry wouldn't give deranged students any advantage. Any student prepared to commit murder would not be stopped by a "gun ban" if his weapon is concealable! This bill would let students protect themselves on the way to and from campus, where many of these rapes and other crimes have been happening at your university and my university. It would also make you safer in your classroom, because murderous adults, as you said, are few and far between.
  11. noliberal
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    noliberal - February 28, 2013 4:01 pm
    I bet if you ask any former prof at Virgina Tech, they would disagree !
  12. Bones
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    Bones - February 28, 2013 3:00 pm
    Of course if you had read the bill..

    Students living on campus are already allowed to have guns, but they're required to keep them in a locked armory. This bill would allow students to carry guns wherever they want.

    You cite some statistics, and again assume that correlation is entirely explanatory. I don't expect you at this point to ever get a better understanding of why that's false.

    Mr/Dr. O'Lear is right - letting crazy, emotionally unstable young people tote guns around during the most stressful time (relative to their own past) of their life is a bad idea. Combining it with the prevalence of drugs and alcohol is a recipe for disaster.

    I fully expect people will use military youths to try to refute this. I'll tell you that in the military, we were issued guns in basic training while the drill sergeants kept a very close eye on whether we were about to do anything insane. For the rest of the enlistment, whenever we weren't using them for the job at hand, they were locked in the armory where we couldn't access them. Same goes for our personal weapons - those living in the barracks had to keep their weapons in the base armory and were not allowed to just carry them around.

    This bill is essentially stupid.
  13. Roger
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    Roger - February 28, 2013 1:24 pm
    I don't know that students would be allowed to carry guns in the classroom, but the fears expressed by O'Lear are typical of the ignorant. The number of guns in the US has increased three times in the last 40 years, while fatal gun accidents have declined dramatically, and are about at an all-time low. And the number of murders in 2009 was about that of 1969 (15,241 vs. 14,760).

    States with "shall issue" concealed-carry gun laws have experienced significant reductions in violent crime, compared to states without these laws.

    Consider doing a little research before going off half-cocked.
  14. BR
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    BR - February 28, 2013 1:03 pm
    Here we have gun nuts of the Right, like Marbut, asserting the US Constitutional right to bear arms should overpower the MT Constitutional right of Regents to set policies in the University system like smoking and gun free zones, against the Posse Comitatus Right saying the local sheriff should have the authority over guns while the State and US government do not, and against the States' Righters in the legislature who say nobody at either extreme should have the authority, but they do. The Right is not right. The Right is wrong on the gun issues of 2013.
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