Bearing Arms

Arizona's Gun Law Debate Is Wrong

As Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer decides whether to approve her state's bill lifting the ban on firearms on college campuses, Adam Winkler writes that both sides of the debate are wrong. The real issue at stake is America's gun culture. Colleges and universities have been gun-free zones since 1745, when Yale adopted a policy punishing any student who “shall keep a gun or pistol, or fire one in the college-yard or college.” It's a tradition carried down today by colleges in all states but Utah—and soon, possibly, Arizona. Texas and eight other states are considering similar laws. In these laws, gun rights activists are trying to make people more comfortable with firearms, more used to seeing them around, as they were when they carried them to Starbucks and Tea Party rallies last year. “What better place to affect people’s attitudes about guns than the very institutions responsible for teaching our most cherished values and ideals?” asks Winkler.