The Corner

Crime@Case Western

Last Friday, a man who was an advocate supporter of severe gun control and was also an opponent of the war in Iraq perpetrated a mass shooting at Case Western University, in Ohio. Below are some thoughts about this crime from Keith J. Barton, who is director of information and technology at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His words are excerpted from a private discussion group on firearms law and policy. Mr. Barton gave me permission to post these on The Corner:

I hope you will indulge me in a little discussion of an emotional issue. You see, I was just affected by a mass public shooting. Although I was not in the building with the shooter, I was in the Law School, which is the closest building and literally just a few feet away from the Peter B. Lewis building where a shooting took place Friday. Consequently, I was at first restricted to certain areas of the building, and then later evacuated (certainly not as affected as those in the Peter B. Lewis building).

The first things I thought of (being completely open and honest here – in temporal order) as I learned of the events unfolding next door was 1) to be angry that Ohioans are not allowed to carry concealed firearms, 2) I was grateful the shooter did not choose the Law School, and 3) I was saddened that someone was emotionally disturbed enough to do this. I am not suggesting a non-law enforcement person with a concealed firearm should have searched the building to stop the shooter in this situation. I cannot accurately say what I would have done had I been in the building next door instead of where I was. But I can say I believe the shooter would not have been at large for 7 hours had one or more persons been carrying a concealed firearm and had known how to use it. Many will say, and have said already, in response to this incident that this is the best argument for more restrictive firearm regulations. I realize not everyone is comfortable around firearms. I also realize my experience may be a little different than the average person: I was a primary marksmanship instructor in the Marine Corps. I personally believe this is an argument for allowing concealed carry. I would feel much safer knowing I have the tools with which to protect myself and those immediately around me should I ever have the need to do so.

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