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Opening Arguments

Carry on, kids

We certainly go our own way, don't we?

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — While some national lawmakers eye new limits on access to guns in the wake of last month's school shooting in Connecticut, two Republican state senators are trying to expand who can carry guns and where in Indiana.

Sen. Jim Banks of Columbia City has proposed allowing students to carry firearms on Indiana's public university campuses. Sen. Dennis Kruse of Auburn wants a bill that would exempt guns made exclusively in Indiana from federal rules and regulations.

The measures face little chance of success in the General Assembly this year. But Banks said Tuesday that lawmakers should still have an open, wide-ranging discussion about guns that highlights both arguments for and against increased access.

Kruse's bill on Indiana-made guns is an odd one. I guess I don't see the logic behind it or the purpose it would serve. I think there's a case for the Banks bill on campus carry. There's no particular reason a campus should be a gun-free zone. Whatever can be said of anyplace else can be said about a college campus -- the arguments for and against concealed carry are exactly the same.

Some people, though, aren't buying one of Banks' arguments for the bill, that allowing concealed carry will help women protect themselves from sexual assault:

The premise is that armed students could better protect themselves from aggressors, including sexual abusers. But IU Sexual Assault Services Center counselor Debbie Melloan says a gun might offer less protection against rape than it would seem to.

Most sexual assaults happen between people who know one another. You’re going to be in a close, kind of private setting…are you going to be willing to shoot the person that is your friend?

IU-Bloomington Director of New Student Orientation Melanie Payne, speaking for herself and not the university, shares Melloan’s concern.

They’re not picturing, you know, a nice, comfortable date that goes wrong, or a group party situation that goes wrong,” she said of students who might envision protecting themselves with a gun.

I'm not sure I see the logic of that attitude, either. Even if two-thirds of sexual assaults are between people who already know each other, that still leaves a lot of attacks by strangers; are the victims less entitled to protect themselves because they're in the minority? And, "am I going to be willing to shoot the person that is my friend?" If my "friend" is assaulting me, hell, yes.