Remarks at Gun Free UT Rally November 10th, 2015

Bryan Jones
J.J. ‘Jake’ Pickle Regents’ Chair in Congressional Studies
Department of Government

I am a gun-owning, former member of the NRA pickup driving UT professor.  I got my first .22 at around age 12.  I grew up in what might be called gun culture in the Deep South. But I oppose guns in the workplace.  Especially the academic workplace.

SO let me give you the TOP TEN reasons I OPPOSE CAMPUS CARRY.

10. AS A SOUTHERNER, I RESPECT THE SOUTHERN GUN CULTURE. I respect the Southern gun culture I learned as a boy in South Alabama. It is light years from the “carry everywhere to intimidate” culture of today.

9. AS A SOCIAL SCIENTIST, I RESPECT EVIDENCE.  I teach my students in public policy about EVIDENCE-BASED policy-making.  Research in reputable peer-reviewed journals is NOT KIND to the idea that somehow we are SAFER with more guns.

8. AS A CONCERNED CITIZEN, I KNOW THAT ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN.  There will be accidents in which concealed carry permit holders shoot themselves or others.  In the last couple of weeks, a guy in a theater who just got his permit shot himself—and thoroughly disrupted the movie as he screamed “I shot myself!”  A woman in Houston accidentally shot the woman she brought to the hospital.

7. AS A MEMBER OF THE UT COMMUNITY, I AM CONCERNED ABOUT CAMPUS SAFETY.  I am especially concerned about our STUDENTS and STAFF, and in particular the possibility of SUICIDES and SEXUAL assaults (which have risen in Colorado and Utah after campus carry laws were passed).

6. AS A TEACHER, I FEAR CLASSROOM PANIC.  An accidental or deliberate discharge of a gun in a crowded classroom can set off a rush for the exits, causing injuries and maybe deaths.

5.  AS A COMMITTED DEFENDER OF THE LESS POWERFUL, I AM DISGUSTED THAT GUNS ARE USED TO BULLY AND INTIMIDATE.  That is what they are designed to do.  Did you see the group of white, middle aged, and very out of shape men along the President’s route in Oregon, after the community college mass shooting there?   Those guys had such spectacular beer bellies that they couldn’t even see their guns!

4. AS A UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR, I RESPECT THE ACADEMIC WORKPLACE.  OUR WORKPLACE IS DESIGNED TO TEST IDEAS IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH INTIMIDATION.  It is designed to explore the diversity of ideas, and there is no place for intimidation.  Can you imagine an open discussion in a public policy class on gun control?  Or on anything else that might offend the carriers in the class?

3. AS A LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN, I RESPECT LAW AND ORDER AND THE POLICE.  Research shows that looser gun control laws lead to MORE shootings of police.  Police are TRAINED in crisis response.  A few hours of coursework for a concealed carry permit is NO SUBSTITUTE for police professionalism.

2. AS A STUDENT OF PUBLIC POLICY, I KNOW THAT IT WILL NOT STOP HERE, WITH LIMITED CAMPUS CARRY.   The gun crowd will be back next legislative session, and while our actions as faculty, staff, and students may be easily dismissed, if we continue to raise awareness AND work hard to BROADEN OUR COALITION, we WILL make progress!