Tuesday, April 21, 2009

JMU's campus carry policies

As I mentioned in my last post, SCCC's "Empty Holster" protest is ruffling some feathers in academia, including a nearby Virginia public university, James Madison University. Some professors are aghast that college students are using their freedoms of speech and peaceable assembly to protest the infringement of their 2nd Amendment rights. You know, kinda how the Founder's of our Republic intended.

An e-mail from a professor to a student leader for 2A rights

Dear Mr. :

As a faculty member I received your message, forwarded by Chief Schifflett, about the SCCC's plan to wear holsters next Thursday, the 23rd, though the Chief listed the 24th as the date. I have a couple of questions and comment.

First, is it the 23rd or 24th?

Second, I asked my students this morning if they new about the planned protest. They did not. Are you planning to make sure the JMU community is notified that some students are planning to wear holsters while on campus? I know you notified the Chief, but are you sure the message will get to the majority of the students? Can you imagine the level of fear if it doesn't? Wouldn't do your cause much good.

Third, even after I explained to my students that the holsters would be empty and, using SCCC's website, the reason for the protest, my students did not think the holster wearing was a good idea. It scares them, makes them feel less safe, as does the idea of students carrying concealed weapons on campus. So you may want to consider if a significant number of your peers support your cause. You and other SCCC members certainly have a right to feel safe in your daily lives, but so does every other citizen.


Kenneth Wright

Dr. Kenneth R. Wright
Associate Professor
Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
(540) 568-6162
This guy's attitude boggles me. Apparently you can only protest if a "significant number of your peers" support your cause. For a professor of "Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication" his comprehension sucks. The entire purpose of the protest is to raise awareness and garner support!

It gets better.

Anecdotal evidence is that some professors are planning to cancel classes or bar students with empty holsters from class.

Which leads me to JMU's Student Handbook - Student Rights and Responsibilities. It starts off well enough, with a refreshing affirmation of student rights, which would seem to leave any anti-Empty Holster professors with no ground to stand on.

The student as a citizen has the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, freedom of political beliefs and freedom from personal force and violence, threats of violence and personal abuse.
(bold added)


Students who hold opinions about basic policy matters of direct concern to them have the right to have them heard...
However JMU Policy 1105 is just the opposite, and denies students, faculty, and even visitors basic human rights.

Some excerpts

No person shall carry, maintain, or store a weapon, concealed or otherwise, on any property owned, leased, or controlled by James Madison University. This policy applies to weapons carried about the person and maintenance or storage of any weapon in any university facility or within any parked vehicle on university premises.
Victim disarmament zone... check.

6.1 Weapons discovered on university premises in violation of this policy will be seized by the police or the Office of Public Safety, and the owner will forfeit ownership.
Waive your 2nd and 4th amendment rights...
Any visitor violating this policy will be subject to being barred from campus.
...and then get barred from public property that YOU own as a citizen of the state.
This policy does not apply to law enforcement officials duly authorized to carry such weapons.
The "Only Ones" exception. You (law-abiding citizen) can't be trusted.
The authority to interpret this policy rests with the President, and is generally delegated to the Chief of Police.
Zero democratic oversight... and judicial interpretation granted to law enforcement... nice.

So I know I'm missing some but here's the Top 5 laws that this policy violates.

1. 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed
2. 4th Amendment to the US Constitution
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
3. Section 10, Virginia Bill of Rights
That general warrants, whereby an officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offense is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive, and ought not to be granted.
4. Section 13, Virginia Bill of Rights
That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
5. Virginia Preemption Law
No locality shall adopt or enforce any ordinance, resolution or motion, as permitted by � 15.2-1425, and no agent of such locality shall take any administrative action, governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, storage or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof other than those expressly authorized by statute.
The list could go on, but I think that's enough. I still can't understand why college administrators still think their doctorates and reserved parking spaces somehow grant them the authority to supersede the US Constitution, the VA Constitution, and the authority of the state legislators.

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