On February 13 at 10:30 am in Topeka, the Kansas Senate will hear testimony on House Bill 2042, which appears to offer sensible gun regulation but in fact does nothing of the kind. (Try to contain your surprise.) I cannot be there myself. So, I have submitted my testimony in advance. I am also posting both text and video of my testimony here. If you can be at the capitol, please go. If not, please contact your representative. Thank you!
Testimony opposing HB-2042
13 Feb 2018
My name is Philip Nel. I am a Professor at Kansas State University, but I offer this testimony as a citizen only – not as an employee. I would be pleased by the fact that HB 2042 mandates that 18-to-20-year olds get a permit and that anyone on a university campus get a permit to carry a weapon. I would be pleased, but the bill also includes Concealed Carry Reciprocity (CCR) – that NRA-promoted legislation says that all states must admit firearms from any state, irrespective of how unregulated that state’s guns are. So, if you’re from one of the twelve states that allows concealed-carry without a permit, then you can also carry in Kansas without a permit. In other words, CCR effectively supersedes HB-2042’s permit requirement.
In effect, HB 2042 makes matters worse by allowing people under 21 to concealed-carry, too. It invites yet more guns into the state and into our workplaces. Thanks to the state’s Guns Everywhere Law, guns have already been forced into college dormitories, libraries, laboratories, classrooms, and offices. The actual name of that law is of course “The Personal and Family Protection Act,” so-called because the law does nothing of the kind and because those who named it are liars. Similarly, those who claim that Concealed Carry Reciprocity will make Kansans safer are also not telling you the truth. Which, at this point, surprises no one.
The university where I teach does not need more guns. It needs more funds. Now, I realize that guns and funds rhyme. So, just to be clear: Guns are weapons that can kill people. Funds can employ faculty and staff who educate people. To be extra clear, I’ll use these words in a sentence. The arrival of guns on campus caused a former colleague to leave Kansas State University for a job at another university in another country. Funds could help hire a new faculty member to teach the courses that he is no longer here to teach.
So, I ask the Kansas legislature to oppose HB-2042. Instead of endangering the lives of your constituents, do something that helps them. Pass sensible gun regulations, and provide adequate funding for education at all levels. Instead of arming citizens with bullets, arm us with reason – via a good education.
|To any academics who may be reading this: Is your university in a state or country with (relatively) competent governance? Or is it a private university (and thus not required to weaponize)? Does it seek an expert on children’s literature? Well, seek no further! Here is my curriculum vitae and a page devoted to my books (with selected reviews of same):
Drop me a line. (Email address is at right, under “A note on mp3s.”) I’d love to hear from you!
Related writing on this subject (by me, and on this blog unless otherwise indicated):
- “Just a Shot Away,” Inside Higher Ed., 12 Apr. 2016.
- A Weaponized Campus Can Be Fun!, 14 June 2017.
- “Firearms and Fascists: Does the Kansas House Believe in Democracy?” 8 Mar. 2017. I think we know the answer to this now.
- “Killing Higher Education, Literally: Kansas’ Campus Carry,” 1 Feb. 2017. Testimony. I was not able to deliver this in person.
- “Testify! Keeping Kansas Universities Gun-Free,” 26 Jan. 2017. My statement, delivered in person to theÂ Kansas Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee at the state house.
- “Guest Editorial: Putting guns on campus is unsafe, disruptive to learning.” K-State Collegian, 21 Sept. 2016.
- “Armed and Unsafe: Why Kansas Universities Must Reject and Not Adapt to Weaponized Campuses,” 4 Sept. 2016. My statement to the university’s Weapons Advisory Work Group.
- “Why Campus Carry Threatens Higher Education,” 24 Mar. 2016
- “Guns vs. Schools,” 2 Dec. 2015. Includes a link to the Kansas State University Distinguished Professors’ statement.
- “When Will I Be Shot Dead?” 1 Oct. 2015.