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This Summer’s Scandal?

Taylor Woolrich ‘16, who has been stalked by the same man for four years, has made a national issue of Safety & Security’s refusal to allow her to carry a gun while on campus.

Woolrich Comp.jpg

While S&S offered to transport Woolrich whenever she desired, she maintains that officers there quickly began to complain about that obligation. Woolrich spoke recently at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. during a Students for Concealed Carry conference:

In addition to the report on Fox, Woolwich has published a column on John Lott’s blog on the Daily Caller (John Lott is the father of Roger Lott ‘14), David Brooks ‘15 has written about her on Business Insider, and Woolrich’s situation has been reported on by Campus Reform.

What to say about a student’s desire to carry a concealed weapon on campus? The College Handbook is categorical on the issue: “All weapons are prohibited on the Dartmouth campus.” Vermont has perhaps the most liberal guns laws in the nation: carrying a weapon openly or in a concealed manner is allowed without any kind of permit. New Hampshire’s laws are only slightly less permissive:

159:6 License to Carry. -
I. (a) The selectmen of a town, the mayor or chief of police of a city or a full-time police officer designated by them respectively, the county sheriff for a resident of an unincorporated place, or the county sheriff if designated by the selectmen of a town that has no police chief, upon application of any resident of such town, city, or unincorporated place, or the director of state police, or some person designated by such director, upon application of a nonresident, shall issue a license to such applicant authorizing the applicant to carry a loaded pistol or revolver in this state for not less than 4 years from the date of issue, if it appears that the applicant has good reason to fear injury to the applicant’s person or property or has any proper purpose, and that the applicant is a suitable person to be licensed. Hunting, target shooting, or self-defense shall be considered a proper purpose. The license shall be valid for all allowable purposes regardless of the purpose for which it was originally issued.

In Israel, citizens routinely carry a pistol in a holster on one hip and a cellphone in a carrier on another.

I wouldn’t know how to weigh Woolrich’s desire to carry a gun for self-defense against the danger of having a loaded weapon in a classroom and out and about on campus. Given the level of alcohol abuse as the College, how safe would we all be if students carried weapons. That said, in the event that a shooter like Elliot Rodger appeared at Dartmouth, the ability of students to defend themselves could be important.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

I am not one for arming students with guns; but what would be the position of the College if there was an incident, and it appeared not to have taken the warning signs seriously enough?

Moreover, what is the position of women’s groups in a situation like the above?

And, isn’t carrying mace an option? Or are students not permitted to carry mace? (I can see the reasons for that, also; but the above might be a special exception.)

The College Handbook does not specifically mention Mace or pepper spray, and I know several women who do carry such devices — though when I have asked to see them, several minutes of harried rummaging preceded their appearance.

Addendum: A professor at the College sends in a thought:

Though I sympathize with this student’s distress, permitting the arming of students is no solution. I would not teach a class of 50 potentially armed students. The terror this woman experiences will be all our terror all the time.

As does an alumnus:

There are fewer “wackos” in Hanover than other parts of the country and the world, but the Dartmouth policy of being weapon-free is an outright invitation to anyone so inclined to come to campus and start firing. The risk of that happening would be significantly diminished by a policy - known on campus and to outsiders - that concealed carry is allowed. We can see the evidence but remain disinclined to learn from it. How sad and how risky.

And a young alumnus:

I saw your article on the wisdom of concealed carry on campus. I’m not against guns (my father and I go shooting regularly), but I can’t think of any situation during my time on campus where having a gun would have made things better. That said, I can think of plenty of situations where guns would have made things much worse.

In my fraternity there was at least one or two drunken scuffles/fights with non-brothers each quarter. 90% of the time these were resolved without police involvement or serious injury. I know concealed carry would not have helped these situations. Once at 3am on a Saturday night, I was with my then-girlfriend in my room when her ex boyfriend showed up, drunk and belligerent, and started pounding on the door, demanding we open it. I didn’t open the door and eventually he left. From what I learned later, it was an impulsive decision. If either of us had access to a gun that night, would I be writing this to you right now?

BTW Considering the high number of S&S officers and Hanover policemen on patrol at any one time, is there ever a time where a law enforcement officer is more than 30 seconds away at Dartmouth?

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