Vice President for administration and finance Cindy Bontrager’s report to the campus Feb. 26 ends this way:
“Allowing concealed carry on our campus is an emotional issue for many of us. Regardless of our personal opinions of the law, our task as a university is to determine how K-State can comply with the amended Board of Regents policy and the state law.”
But one can rationally think defenses of an interpretation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (that holds we are all better off having the means to defend ourselves against tyranny) is credible and still not be a gun owner, nor anticipate becoming one, nor think they are appropriate on university campuses.
If you believe the proposition that the U.S. government is tyrannical is not credible, and that, in the contemporary world, the U.S. government is unlikely to become tyrannical, then it follows that there is no obvious reason (on those grounds) for you to own a gun even if you have a right to do so. Many rights go unexercised.
Moreover, all rights are rationally restrictable. If you are in a movie theater, for a simple-minded example, your right to yell whatever you want is restricted: You do not exercise that right appropriately by yelling “fire.” Duh.
The second sentence contains a falsehood that is much more serious. It is simply not “our task as a university … to determine how K-State can comply with … the state law.” It would be our task were we “state actors.” But we do not, in the classroom, lab nor in the conduct of other research, represent the state of Kansas. If we represent anything at all, it is the standards of our several professions (including that of being a student). It is not “our task;” it is a choice, one that somebody made for us.
James R. Hamilton
Professor of Philosophy
Kansas State University