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Old January 2, 2009, 11:25 PM   #1
lwestatbus
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Weapons on Campuses--Some New Thoughts

I am a college professor in Florida where they lock you up for a long time for carrying a weapon on any campus. Even our recent bill allowing permit holders to keep their weapons in cars does not apply to campuses--carrying/storing there is verboten.

I've read the other thread on carrying on campus and our campus also had an event where for a couple of days (maybe a week?) students with permits wore empty holsters visibly to show their numbers.

Even though I'm a licensed permit holder and would carry a weapon to work if I could I have to confess to some concerns about generally opening up campus carry rights but I also have an idea I'd like to float.

My concern is essentially that while campuses are target rich environments for wackos with a death wish they are also innocent backstop rich environments for untrained good guys in a high pressure situation. Florida has two paths to CC permits--military service or attending a REALLY limited class. The classes are about 4 hours, and I think that most people attend them at gun shows. I don't think that either path effectively prepares permit holders for gunfights in a crowd.

As a former Airborne and Ranger qualified Infantry officer and combat veteran I think that I had a higher level of small arms experience than most military members but pistol training is an afterthought and strictly limited to static target engagement. (I know, others may have had different experiences.) I have also observed gun show classes (which do not require any shooting or gun handling in Florida!!) and some of them are a joke. Last weekend the guy was haranguing a large group in a noisy auditorium and I would be willing to bet that those in the back couldn't even hear. I was standing closer to the speaker than those in the back row and I couldn't.

So what to do? I'd like to see a program similar to that adopted for airline pilots. Allow individuals to carry after being trained, really trained. Armed competent civilians are the most cost effective source of security in environments with lots of people (targets), low densities of attack, and difficult policing challenges. I'd take the course. I'd even pay to take it. Edit: I meant to imply here that the training would be for the right to carry on campus. I do not advocate in any way restricting existing rights to carry elsewhere.

I know that some will disagree violently with my thoughts on the preparation of the average permit holder to open fire in a crowded environment. The potential arguments are numerous and it is an emotional issue. But you must admit that the paths to carry permits (at least here in Florida) just don't address the training needed to be effective in a campus shooting. Concealed Carry in Florida is geared toward self defense and defense of home and auto.

Last edited by lwestatbus; January 3, 2009 at 09:22 AM. Reason: Clarify a statement
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Old January 2, 2009, 11:37 PM   #2
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I agree. I haven't seen a case where it happened yet, but eventually one of these idiots is going to whip out the "evil black assault rifle" in the cafeteria and a student or faculty member who is illegally carrying will end his reign of terror. I hope it never happens, but I would love to see how the anti-gun movement twists that one around. All the numbers I have seen show that guns save more lives than they end.
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Old January 3, 2009, 12:22 AM   #3
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Currently at Colorado State University CCW holders may carry on campus.It has been in the newspaper the last few days meetings are being held to address changing this policy.
Since 9-11 a CCW permit has been reasonable to obtain here and despite the concern of those opposed to folks carrying,there have been no incidents at CSU.
As a matter of fact,nation wide the dire bloodbath predictions about people and CCW's has not occured.Crime rates have dropped.
I'm glad Ms Assam was armed in the church in Colorado Springs.
It is safer to have dangerous people around.
In case people think college students are not old enough to responsibly carry,most of our troops are the same age.(I'm 56)
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Old January 3, 2009, 01:53 AM   #4
Don H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lwestatbus
So what to do? I'd like to see a program similar to that adopted for airline pilots. Allow individuals to carry after being trained, really trained. Armed competent civilians are the most cost effective source of security in environments with lots of people (targets), low densities of attack, and difficult policing challenges. I'd take the course. I'd even pay to take it.
It sounds an awful lot like you're saying that people who can't afford the comprehensive mandated training shouldn't be allowed to carry. Right?

So, if the state mandated a program that cost, say, $10,000, (120 hours should be adequate for classroom and hands-on training, don't you think?) that would be fine? And don't forget the annual refresher and qualification at only $2,500/yr.

'Course, I guesss it all depends on who's defining exactly what "competent" and "really trained" means.
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Old January 3, 2009, 07:06 AM   #5
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I have to say it because I think about this often...

being a gun rights advocate I think carry should be allowed on campus....
with that said I know from personal experience and 6+ years of 'higher' education (and I was pretty high through most of it) I don't think there is another place in our country with a greater concentration of idiots... (well maybe congress) I say this because I was young and stupid once and I really don't think most college students could be trained or qualified enough to safely carry.
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Old January 3, 2009, 09:12 AM   #6
divemedic
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in Florida where they lock you up for a long time for carrying a weapon on any campus.
With a CCW, it is a second degree misdemeanor. Up to $500 and up to 60 days. Doubt you would see jail time for a first offense.

Quote:
It sounds an awful lot like you're saying that people who can't afford the comprehensive mandated training shouldn't be allowed to carry. Right?
I agree. It sounds as if the poster wants us to move from shall issue, to may issue (and then only if you have met certain criteria)

Quote:
I say this because I was young and stupid once and I really don't think most college students could be trained or qualified enough to safely carry.
I am a college student. So is my wife. Not only that, but a college student can carry off campus. Why not on? Your statement smacks of elitism.
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Old January 3, 2009, 09:27 AM   #7
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My concern is essentially that while campuses are target rich environments for wackos with a death wish they are also innocent backstop rich environments for untrained good guys in a high pressure situation.
That is voiced as a common concern and it -sounds- reasonable doesn't it.
However the "innocent backstop" scenario is yet another in a long line of "but this might possibly, maybe, has a chance, of happening" or "but what if" scenarios.

There are several, well publicized times a citizen has stopped a wacko without all of the collateral damage some folks seem so concerned about. (and just FYI, there are even more times when this has happened and been ignored by the media because it wasn't "jucy" enough).

Along the same lines, right after Va Tech a girl was interviewed and asked if concealed carry should have been allowed on campus. She said "No way, more guns wouldn't have helped, it would have just made matters worse". Personally, when a loony is lining folks up and executing them I don't see how someone else, able to oppose him, could have possibly made things worse.

I'll take my chances with the "cross-fire" any day over the scenario of one crazy murderer running around able to casually select his targets at will.

Quote:
I say this because I was young and stupid once and I really don't think most college students could be trained or qualified enough to safely carry.
I know at least 25 returning vets enrolled, the oldest one being 27. I DARE you to stand in front of them and make that statement.

Additionally, I am neither young nor stupid (former LE, have been licensed for CC for a LONG time) and yet the blanket rule also places me in the "young/stupid/can't be trusted" category the instant I set foot on the campus where I now work.

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Old January 3, 2009, 09:52 AM   #8
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It should be national: shall issue, training that includes range time and legal implications (inexpensive, can be one or two partial days), no registration and no more gun-free zones.
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Old January 3, 2009, 09:57 AM   #9
lwestatbus
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Great Discussion

Some interesting ideas developing here. I thought I'd post a few responses.

Scopri: I have no doubt that some choose to carry despite the laws and this person would truly find themselves in a difficult position. I kind of hope that reason would prevail.

Don H & DiveMedic: Your responses caused me to reread my post and add an edit to the original. I do not advocate in any way restricting whatever general rights to carry may exist. I am advocating an incremental permit level for campus carry. By the way, my personal reservation price (an economics term) for what I would be willing to pay for such training would probably be in the $500 range. I'd be willing to pay more if I were younger but at 54 the annualized cost of the benefit would be higher than if I were in my 30s.

blume357: "I don't think there is another place in our country with a greater concentration of idiots... " I couldn't agree more. And the faculty are right up in there. There is zero correlation between temperment and common sense and the ability to earn a Ph.D.

divemedic: To me 60 days is a long time. And I will not put my trust in what a court might decide to do. On a personal level, this would also result in the loss of my job, one of the best jobs in the world.

This thread has sparked some discussion (good) and seems to have touched a couple of nerves. I'd like to restate my position with a couple of points:
  1. A gunfight on a campus is likely to be a completely different animal than an armed citizen self defense scenario.
  2. The qualification for concealed carry (in Florida at least) does not address this situation well (frankly, I don't think it addresses any situation well)
  3. A number of competent and self-equipped firearms owners is probably the most cost effective way to elevate the level of security on campus.
  4. I think that these issues would be addressed by the program I am advocating.

A Scenario: You are in a classroom where the only door leads to a hallway that has a number of other classrooms in it. You hear the unmistakable sound of gunshots and you know they are in your building. You draw your pistol and go to the door where you see a half dozen shocked people and someone steps out of another classroom holding a pistol. There are people between you and this person and one behind them. Now what do you do, Ranger? (This is what the instructors would ask us at uncomfortable moments in Ranger school.) Are you trained to deal with this situation? If the other person is a good guy is he/she trained to deal with it?
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Old January 3, 2009, 10:02 AM   #10
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As a student here in Alabama the university I attend/attended (I'm debating on transfering) does not have a restriction on firearms in vehicles, but does have an anti-carry policy. No training is required for a CCW in Alabama.

I would like people who carry firearms to have some training, and I would like to have more formal training myself, but I don't think it should be a requirement for a CCW.

I wouldn't mind seeing a law here in Alabama that would allow one to carry a firearm concealed and openly anywhere, anytime (excluding private property...my definition being property that doesn't benefit from tax revenues) provided they successfully completed the firearms training required by, say, the Alabama Department o Public Safety (State Troopers) along with passing rigorous backround checks and successfully completeing a course on the legal use of force in the state.

Edited to say: I wouldn't even mind throwing in a fingerprint card if such a law were passed.
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Old January 3, 2009, 10:14 AM   #11
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Be careful about saying that Florida's training is inadequate. Next thing you know, you have those $4,000 classes on the horizon.

The point is, the classes are not intended to train you for the worst case scenario. It is easy to "what if" scenario things into requiring SEAL training for all CCW.

Even LEOs do not get the level of training that you are advocating, and they have nationwide carry.
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Old January 3, 2009, 01:38 PM   #12
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I see a possibility of stepping onto a slippery slope by requiring extra classes for carrying on a college campus.

I carry in wal-mart. It's crowded, right? How about a movie theater? A grocery store? A restaurant? A bus?

Today I have options. I can get more training if I feel I would intervene in a very unlikely mass shooting. If not, I choose to stand by. Or I can shoot and risk injuring or killing a bystander, but stop a massacre like in Luby's, McDonald's, or VT.

As it is if I feel I don't have the training required I can still carry into Wal-mart and defend myself at the ATM on the way there or in the parking lot- these scenarios are much more likely, anyway.

Same thing with a college campus. Why require $1000+ training for a college girl to carry a pistol in her purse to defend herself against a rape or robbery in the parking lot at night? And if she does get into a situation in which she needs to shoot a nutcase in the classroom, let her shoot me by accident- at least the guy doesn't get to kill thirty people hiding under their desks.
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Old January 3, 2009, 02:16 PM   #13
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To me the issue boils down to one that is often debated on TFL.

That is; does having a CCW equate to acting like a LEO? I and many others (most I think) say NO! Having a CCW is NOT the same as being a LEO. Therefore the dynamics of just about any gunfight would be different between a LEO and CCW.

lwestatbus, this is where the scenarios and such get fuzzy. I have a CCW to protect MY life and perhaps my family if they are with me. PERIOD.

The issue that antis and others raise about innocent bystanders arise from a perception that if students or faculty are armed and they hear gunshots on campus they will race pell mell to the sound of the guns with their own CCWs blazing away, shooting innocents and then getting shot by each other or LEOs who are responding like a bunch of Keystone Cops.

Frankly, I think that fear is overblown and most all CCW holders would just hunker down and fire only if the threat approaches them directly and they could not retreat. Even the most rudimentary CCW classes teach that I believe (hope!). Now, if you are talking about tactically engaging a shooter not directly threatening you then the training stuff comes into play I think.

So, I think the idea of innocents being harmed by CCW folks in a gunfight with an active shooter may not be as big as some think. I do think that a CCW might stop an active shooter from killing more students and teachers and that would be a good thing.

Good enough of a social benefit to allow CCW on campus IMO.
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Old January 3, 2009, 03:29 PM   #14
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I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who has a problem with the no guns on campus issue. I'm a freshman at Georgia Southern University and I must say that the school policy toward gun owning students isnt too kind. If you live in an on-campus dorm you cant own any type of firearm. Period.

I live in an apartment complex just off campus and it's the same story there.
Next year I will be finding new housing due largely in part to my current community's firearm regs.

Isn't there something unconstitutional about this? I don't even technically live on campus and my right to own a gun is (I feel) being violated.
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Old January 3, 2009, 03:56 PM   #15
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I'd say TG has nailed it.

a CCW permit isn't a license to be a superhero. Yes, I'm sure there ARE CCW holders that dream of being in the gunfight, saving the Girl, and riding off into the sunset. Hell, I'm sure all of us have had that fantasy at some point.

Trick is, that's all it is: a fantasy (at least, I HOPE that's all it is for most). The reality is, most that carry do so simply to protect themselves and theirs. Not to go running off towards the sound of the guns...
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Old January 3, 2009, 05:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
1. A gunfight on a campus is likely to be a completely different animal than an armed citizen self defense scenario.
2. The qualification for concealed carry (in Florida at least) does not address this situation well (frankly, I don't think it addresses any situation well)
3. A number of competent and self-equipped firearms owners is probably the most cost effective way to elevate the level of security on campus.
4. I think that these issues would be addressed by the program I am advocating.
You're going on a lot of assumptions here. I think Tennessee Gentleman has a good point in that you're assuming that a Campus CCW holder is going to actively engage an opponent. I agree with TG that he/she is far more likely to try and get away from the attacker rather than go looking for him. Also, you're assuming that a "Whacko with a gun" is the most likely scenario. I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of violent crimes that occur on campuses are the same types that occur elsewhere. While horrific and highly publicized, the "Whacko with a gun mass murder" situation is in fact quite rare. That being the case, I really don't see how CCW on campus is all that different from CCW in any other crowded place. Florida's current CCW programs seems to work pretty well in other crowded places so I don't see why the same wouldn't be true on a college campus. Heck, here in Indiana, there is no class or training requirement at all, just pass the background check and pay the fee. Guess what, we don't seem to have too many problems either. I think something that is often overlooked is that by and large people who would do irresponsible things with a firearm either can't get a permit to begin with or are too irresponsible/lazy to bother with getting it. That being the case, the majority of irresponsible gun carriers are doing so illegally in the first place.
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Old January 3, 2009, 05:44 PM   #17
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lwestatbus, this is where the scenarios and such get fuzzy. I have a CCW to protect MY life and perhaps my family if they are with me. PERIOD.
Quote:
A CCW permit isn't a license to be a superhero. Yes, I'm sure there ARE CCW holders that dream of being in the gunfight, saving the Girl, and riding off into the sunset. Hell, I'm sure all of us have had that fantasy at some point.
Why can't someone do both? Carry a gun to protect yourself. But when you're classmates are being killed in your building, why wouldn't you do whatever you could to save them? The law allows it and I can't imagine any jurist in his right mind convicting you of a crime or awarding a judgment against you for stopping a potential mass murderer.
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Old January 3, 2009, 06:25 PM   #18
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You misunderstand me, Wayne...

IF I were in a classroom, armed, and heard gunshots, I would do my level best for those around me (barricade the door, keep everyone as out of the line of fire as possible, etc). However, going and looking for the shooter, to me, would mean a high likelyhood of my wife becoming a widow. Since, presumably, everyone else there has the same availability of CCW, it was their choice to be unarmed: hence, I have no obligation to them. Those in the room with me just get lucky...
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Old January 3, 2009, 07:07 PM   #19
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I agree. Bar the door, put everyone in the room behind you, and barricade yourself behind a stout desk. Anyone who comes in is challenged. Why go looking for trouble?
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Old January 3, 2009, 07:09 PM   #20
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A Scenario: You are in a classroom where the only door leads to a hallway that has a number of other classrooms in it. You hear the unmistakable sound of gunshots and you know they are in your building. You draw your pistol and go to the door where you see a half dozen shocked people and someone steps out of another classroom holding a pistol. There are people between you and this person and one behind them. Now what do you do, Ranger? (This is what the instructors would ask us at uncomfortable moments in Ranger school.) Are you trained to deal with this situation? If the other person is a good guy is he/she trained to deal with it?
Very simple: You hold your room and hope that guy is holding his room. When you hear more gunshots and they don't come from either of your rooms, you now know you potentially have an ally.

Re: The "target-rich backstop" theory:

How is a university any different than a mall, movie theater or farmer's market... when analyzed in context of an active shooter and a responding armed population?

Aside from the raw elitism that oozes from the ivory towers?

The whole flaw in your logic, lwestatbus, is the idea of running towards gunfire. Let me spell it out for you: Don't.

Those that choose to be gun-less can either run for their lives or get slaughtered. Those that choose to be armed can defend themselves and those in immediate proximity, or choose to run for their lives or get slaughtered.

Your premise adds a degree of complexity to an audience with very little opportunity to become CCW certified in time to graduate anyways. The vast bulk of a theoretical armed student body would be Seniors and grad students. They only have 1-2 years to accomplish such a task in addition to their educational goals.

Why introduce ADDITIONAL certification? Other than to simulate protection for those ivory towers in a cloak of befuddled self deceit?
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Old January 3, 2009, 07:26 PM   #21
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Very simple: You hold your room and hope that guy is holding his room.
makes perfect sense, and hopefully you(lwestatbus) have a student or two to help.
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Old January 3, 2009, 08:40 PM   #22
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They only training needed for ccw

Beyond competent operation of the firearm is a through grounding in your legal rights and responsibilities. Period. NO training in tactics is required, nor should it be. As previously stated, the armed citizen is not a replacement LEO, nor are they intended to be.

All the citizen should be required to know is their legal role, their responsibility, should they need to fire in defense of self or others. ALL else is a personal decision of the individual, and should not be mandated by the state, or a university, in order to exercise the basic human right of self defense.

I can see no difference in a university, shool, mall, or any other location. Law abiding armed citizens are not a problem. If a ccw holder acts as a LEO, or some wanna be Rambo, and violates the law, come down on him like the hammer of the gods. Otherwise, ignore them.

Also as previously stated, the idea that one cannot have a gun on campus, while being legally able to do so other places is nothing more than pure bald faced elitism. College kids and professors are special and need to be more protected than the public at large? I, for one, heartily disagree.
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Old January 3, 2009, 09:47 PM   #23
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I think I see where lwestatbus was headed. From the OP, I could see a state issuing a standard CCW permit and some kind of endorsement for campus carry - much like some states do for adding a motorcycle endorsement to a driver's license. It says you've had the extra training/experience to be able to safely operate in a different environment.

Not that I necessarily agree, but I don't see this as a big deal. An adjunct course for an extra $50-$120 that covers specific differences for campus situations (or crowds perhaps). But the problem here is that in the aftermath, a it could give a prosecutor extra leverage to criticize anything you did.

In any target-rich situation - a campus, the mall's food court, a concert, inside a busy McDonalds, etc. - if the shooter is not stopped, anyone remaining in the area is a likely fatality.

I've mentioned this in other threads, using the San Ysidro, CA., McDonalds and Luby's cafeteria as examples. When a madman enters and begins firing indicsriminately, few people will immediately vacate the area. Most will sit in denial for several seconds before trying to leave or get their family to safety. Their movement may get them killed. Hiding under the table might get them killed too. If no one takes defensive action, scratch off anyone remaining inside after the first 15-30 seconds.

If a CCW holder engages and neutralizes the subject, but one of the his/her rounds injures another person, it is still a net gain if people walk out of there alive. Resultant injuries and deaths should be litigated against the estate of the crazy shooter for initiating the situation.[1]

As far as college shootings go, the same thing applies. VTech showed us that doing nothing results in mass casualties. A psychotic with a plan can delay arrival of LEOs with a simple chain and padlock. All those "potential backstops" become, instead, "potential fatalities".

To lwestatbus' scenario posted above:
Lacking any indications of violence from the gun toter in the hallway, it's a no-shoot. Since classroom doors usually open outward I'll be in a kneeling barricade position with the door open a minimum. If I have to look around the door, I'll be ready to reverse inside and defend the door from intrusion - IF it turns out he is the shooter. If he begins gunning down people in the hallway, I'll have to decide if I have a clear enough shot at any given moment or not. If not, other tactics may be employed, up to and including closing the door and defending my "local space" [classroom].

CCW holders don't have to engage directly either. They can be the "rear guard" on the door as other student exit from windows or other egress points.

I'm neither a SF operator nor a highly skilled SWAT member. My goal will be to minimize contact and help others escape and/or remain secure. If opportunity permits engagement to end the conflict, I may take it to end the threat.
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Old January 3, 2009, 10:01 PM   #24
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Why can't someone do both?
1. More than likely you are not trained to engage an active shooter in a gunfight (I don't think it is easy).

2. You have no duty to do so

3. You are not a LEO

4. You might get shot by some LEOs responding to the shooting

5. See number one above.

Quote:
I can't imagine any jurist in his right mind convicting you of a crime or awarding a judgment against you for stopping a potential mass murderer.
I can definitely see it happening and it does all the time (mostly civil) to police who are sworn to protect us. Don't think for a minute some civilian wouldn't sue you for mental distress or damages if someone shot them by mistake trying to take out a BG.
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Old January 3, 2009, 11:55 PM   #25
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I'm kind of old, and, knowing I would go to jail if I pull a firearm, I'm STILL not going to sit there and let someone kill people. Well, maybe if I was in Congress...The sad part is I might have to wait until the guy actually shoots someone prior to engaging him, so that when the Monday Morning quarterbacking in the legal system see my actions, I have a solid basis for self-defense, or defense of others, that is not arguable.

Quote:
I'd even pay to take it. Edit: I meant to imply here that the training would be for the right to carry on campus. I do not advocate in any way restricting existing rights to carry elsewhere.
We are already way down this slippery slope, and the deaths at campus', due to mad man shootings are already a matter of record. All these laws do is restrict the ability of law abiding citizens to protect themselves. Adding another layer of training, and or expense, is against the concept of Equal Protection.
It is NOT a perfect world, but, there is NOTHING reasonable about a ban on carrying firearms on campus, and the morons we elect to congress may get the warm and fuzzies when they pen such idiotic legislation, but, all it does is make schools a free fire zone. In this not so perfect world, we will not have perfectly trained citizens, unless we adapt the Swiss mode of training, and citizenship.

What really needs to be done is the knee jerk, stupid laws against carry on campus need to be revoked, and, we make up for in quanity what we lack in quality.

I can't help but think of the Airplane scene where the bad guy pulls a gun, and EVERYONE in the airplane draws on him. THAT would be a very sobbering, or short lived experience.
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