By Charles Kiker
I am not obsessed with guns. But since the public conversation is so obsessed I feel that I, as a person of faith, should respond. In particular, I am responding to two legislative proposals in two different state legislatures.
First: a legislative proposal right here in the Lone Star State would allow students to carry guns on college campuses and in the classroom. I will be charitable in my characterization of that proposal as seriously misguided.
Widely accepted research into the development of the human brain informs us that the frontal lobe is not fully developed in young males until about age 25. Therefore they are more prone to rash and risky behavior. Insurance companies recognize this in their premium rates for automobile insurance for males under 25.
Proponents of this legislation are citing the recent shooting on a college campus near Houston as evidence of the need for this law. It proves exactly the opposite. This incident occurred as a result of an argument. When arguments arise, as they frequently do, and there are numbers of armed students on each side of the argument, a shootout can and almost certainly will result, with participants as well as bystanders being killed or injured.
Armed students in the classroom will put students and faculty at greater risk, not make them safer.
Second: It seems that Arkansas has a statute that bans guns in places of worship. Some in the Arkansas legislature want to overturn that ban. I hope they do, not because I like the idea of guns in church—I don’t—I hope they overturn that law on First Amendment grounds: “Congress shall make no law concerning an establishment of religion. . . .”
I would not feel right in a house of worship where people and pastor are armed. Our security should be in the Lord, not in Smith & Wesson. Houses of worship should be gun free zones. But that decision should be made by the churches, not by the state.
State colleges and universities, on the other hand, are state institutions. The state has a responsibility to insure the safety of students, faculty, and staff to the best of its capability. That responsibility can best be met by a well disciplined and regulated security force, not by a bunch of pistol packing post teens.