Should Teachers Be Allowed to Carry Guns on Campus?
This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 15, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now let's go to Kansas City, where Dr. Bryan Russell, who teaches at the University of Kansas, thinks teachers should be able to carry guns if they have a permit. And from Philadelphia, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, who teaches at Temple University, but he says no, he doesn't think that's a good idea.
Dr. Hill, why not?
MARC LAMONT HILL, TEMPLE UNIVERISTY PROFESSOR: Well, for one, I don't think it solves the fundamental problem, which is that guns are too easy to get. What we saw in this tragedy, as well as the Virginia Tech tragedy, is that two people with mental illnesses were able to get guns legally. That's the fundamental issue here, not the inability of professors to carry guns on their person to defend us from these crazy...
O'REILLY: But here's the problem with that. This guy didn't have any sheet. I mean, he was on medication, but medical privacy dictates that even if he's under a doctor's care, no one will know that. The state won't know it, nobody will be reported. He won't be in a database. So you can't monitor people under a doctor's care in America. It just does not happen. So you have to take that off the table.
The second thing is if you have a legitimate gun permit to protect yourself. Why should you have to give that up on a college campus? Why? Under what — why is that?
HILL: Well, I think it creates a culture of fear. I don't think that it actually works.
O'REILLY: But nobody would know. Nobody would know. You have the permit. You carry it concealed. I mean, you're not waving it around. You'll lose your permit when you do that.
HILL: Well, if it's the issue of concealing it, then it doesn't really dissuade crime, right? It doesn't prevent you from doing these things if they don't know...
O'REILLY: No, it wouldn't prevent it, but it would neutralize somebody who did it so that they couldn't murder.
HILL: Right, but again, Bill, when you're in a lecture hall with 200 people, and you have a person with a concealed-carry weapon — for example, in Pennsylvania, to get a license to conceal a weapon, you don't need target practice. There's no psychological evaluation.
So you're expecting a professor to defend 200 students from a crazed gunman who perhaps knows what he's doing. That's very dangerous, inefficient. And it's unlikely that a professor with a gun would be able to prevent or cut down a person like last night.
O'REILLY: All right. Dr. Russell, how do you see this? You do have a gun permit? You have a permit to carry, correct?
BRIAN RUSSELL, UNIV. OF KANSAS PROFESSOR: I do. I have a concealed-carry license in the state of Kansas. And I teach a large lecture course at the University of Kansas in a big auditorium that sounds very similar to the place where this happened yesterday. And you know, I'm not allowed to bring my weapon onto the campus. So I think if this were to have happened in my classroom, the outcome would have been very much the same.
But if I were able to carry on campus, I think that I, like you said, I could have neutralized the guy. I might not have been able to prevent anyone from getting hurt or killed, but I think that I could have stopped this guy cold before he had a chance to get off nearly as many shots as he did and with as many people as he did and kill as many people as he did.
O'REILLY: People who feel the way Dr. Hill does are going to say to you, listen, it's not the professor's job to be, you know, toting guns around. And it does create a certain image on campus that it's a lawless atmosphere. Isn't it the job of the campus police to do that, to respond quickly and to protect the students and teachers? Isn't that the campus police job?
RUSSELL: Well, I would certainly say that we had an armed campus cop in the classroom...
O'REILLY: Don't you have one?
RUSSELL: ...at my taught class.
O'REILLY: Don't you have one at the university?
RUSSELL: We have an armed campus police force, but we don't have them in every classroom during every class. And until we either do that or until we do a lot better job of preventing these things, we've got to give the potential victims a fighting chance.
And I think it's a reasonable thing to do to give people who are licensed already to carry concealed weapons the ability to carry them on a university campus, because we know that this is one of these places where the risk for this kind of things is heightened, unfortunately.
O'REILLY: OK. Now Dr. Hill, look, even if the federal government — President Bush just signed into law last month an updated database for the federal authorities to know if anybody who's been convicted of a crime, who's been put in a mental institution, tries to go and get a license to have a gun. So that's already in place.
The problem is the secondary gun market, you know, classified advertisements, the gun shows, all of these things. And under our Constitution cannot regulate that. You have a shotgun, and you want to sell it to the guy across the street, you can do that under our Constitution.
O'REILLY: So what, you know, Dr. Russell is saying is look, pie in the sky ain't going to cut it if professor already has a carry license. It just makes sense to let him carry on campus. He's responsible, because he's got it. And he's a professor. I'm going to give you the last word, doctor.
HILL: That's not true. I don't believe — I think it's a huge assumption to assume that because someone has a license to carry and a license to conceal, that they're responsible.
O'REILLY: But they're college professors.
HILL: Bill, how many times have I debated you about Ward Churchill? Would you want to give Ward Churchill a gun?
HILL: I mean, think about it. I mean, so think about it. Just because you're a college professor...
HILL: ...it doesn't make you reasonable.
O'REILLY: I cannot rebut that, Dr. Hill. That's an excellent point. And I don't want to give guys like Churchill anything. Enough loons running around.
All right, gentlemen, we're going to let the audience decide. Very good conversation. And we appreciate it. And once again, our condolences to everybody out of Northern Illinois, the families of all the people who have been killed and injured out there.
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